Thailand to ban Telegram messaging app
Thai authorities are reported to have ordered internet providers to block the Telegram messaging app, which has been used by anti-government protesters.
The move comes as authorities have failed to curb the rallies since they issued an emergency order on Thursday, with protesters still gathering daily, largely peacefully, in Bangkok and other parts of the country.
The government’s plan to block Telegram was reported by local media on Monday after a document marked “very confidential” was leaked and shared widely on social media. Telegram is a popular secure messaging app that has been used by activists to organize protests at short notice.
Under the state of emergency, Thais are banned from publishing “sensitive news” or online messages that could harm national security.
The Thai government had already banned Change.org to stop petitions against the king.
However, the Ministry of Digital Economy and Society said the petition’s contents violated Thailand’s Computer Crime Act.
Members of the student-led movement have gathered in defiance of an order banning protests and want Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-Ocha -a former army chief who seized power in a 2014 coup- to resign.
Their demands for reform have since grown to include questioning the role of the monarchy, an institution long seen as sacred in Thailand.
At least 80 people have been arrested since Tuesday. Those detained risk long sentences if they are found to have breached Thailand’s strict lese majeste laws, which ban criticism of the monarchy. Anyone found breaking the law could be jailed for up to 15 years.