Twitter: “free speech with

By Terry Fredrickson

Governments nervous about what their citizens say in public are getting some help from the popular social network service Twitter.

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Twitter: “free speech with limits”

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One of the first tweets from Thailand after the Twitter announcement that it could censor users country-by-country.

Governments nervous about what their citizens say in public have found the social network service Twitter to be annoying, even dangerous. China even bans it altogether.

Twitter, of course, allows users to post short (140 character) messages, better known as “tweets”, on any subject they wish, from what they are having for breakfast to radical suggestions on how to cheat on your taxes.

It is the latter type of message that governments want to eliminate, including tweets that deal with politically sensitive topics, like the monarchy here in Thailand, for example.

Last week twitter announced that it was addressing government concerns by allowing limited censorship of content that may violate local laws.

Under the new system, a tweet from a Thai poster could be blocked in the Kingdom at the request of the government, a company or an individual. The tweet would, however, still appear elsewhere, allowing Twitter to say it remains committed to free speech.

The Information and Communication Technology Ministry welcomed Twitter’s new policy, saying it will work with the company to ensure that tweets disseminated in Thailand are in compliance with local law.

ICT permanent secretary Jeerawan Boonperm said her ministry will contact Twitter shortly to discuss ways in which they could collaborate.

Many local users, however, expressed dismay at the policy change.

Sombat Boonngamanong, a self-described red shirt supporter who uses the name @nuling, said he believed content censorship was appropriate in the case of human rights violations or criminal activity, but not for expressing political views.

"It's a dangerous and sensitive issue to censor political views," he said.

Not everyone agrees. Chavarong Limpattamapanee, president of the Thai Journalists Association, expressed support for the new policy.

"Local users must still comply with local law. Freedom of speech is a human right, but this freedom is not borderless. One must be responsible," he said.

Adapted from a story in today’s Bangkok Post by Suchit Leesa-Ngunansuk and Komsan Tortermvasana. You can read the original story here:

You can read previous article at


nervous – anxious about something or afraid of something กระวนกระวาย

citizen – someone who has the right to live permanently in a particular country พลเมือง

social network – websites or other services on the internet for communication with people who share your interests เครือข่ายสังคม

annoying – making you feel slightly angry or impatient น่ารำคาญ

ban – to officially say that someone is not allowed to do something ห้ามอย่างเป็นทางการ

radical – new, different and likely to have a great effect; in favour of thorough and complete political or social change รุนแรง, สุดขีด, ฝ่ายซ้าย

suggestion – an idea or a plan that you mention for somebody else to think about ข้อเสนอ, ข้อเสนอแนะ

taxes – money that you have to pay to the government so that it can pay for public services ภาษี

latter – used for referring to the second of two people, things, or groups that have just been mentioned อันหลัง,ครึ่งหลัง,ส่วนที่สอง

eliminate – to get rid of กำจัด ลดตำแหน่งงาน

sensitive – needed to be dealt with very carefully to not cause anger or offence ที่ละเอียดอ่อน

the monarchy – the royal institution (higher institution); the throne; the crown ระบอบประชาธิปไตยอันมีพระมหากษัตริย์เป็นประมุข

address – to deal with a problem จัดการปัญหา

concerns – worries ความกังวล

censorship – removing the parts of a book, film/movie, internet content, etc. that are considered to be offensive, immoral or a political threat การเซ็นเซอร์, การตรวจสอบสื่อต่างๆ เพื่อตัดส่วนที่ไม่เหมาะสมออก

content – the subject, ideas, or story that a piece of writing or a radio or television programme deals with เนื้อหา,สาระ

violate – to do something that is against the law ละเมิดกฏหมาย

local – in or related to the area that you live, or to the particular area that you are talking about ท้องถิ่น

block – to stop someone/ something from moving through, or in this case, a message on the internet ปิดกั้น, กีดขวาง

request – an act of asking for something in a formal or polite way การขอร้อง

individual – a person considered separately rather than as part of a group บุคคล

appear – to be seen ปรากฏ

committed – loyal and willing to give your time and energy to something that you believe in ยึดมั่น

policy – a plan or action agreed on by a government, political party, business, or other group นโยบาย

ensure – to make certain that something happens or is done ให้การยืนยัน, รับรอง, ให้ความมั่นใจ

disseminate – to spread or give out something, especially news, information, ideas, etc., to a lot of people เผยแพร่

compliance – the practice of obeying a law, rule, or request การยอมทำตาม

permanent secretary – a government official, not a political appointee, in charge of a ministry ปลัดกระทรวง

collaborate – to work together with someone else ร่วมมือ

dismay – a feeling of being very unhappy and disappointed ท้อใจ, ผิดหวัง

appropriate – suitable or right for a particular situation or purpose ที่เหมาะสม

human rights – the basic rights which it is generally considered all people should have, such as justice and the freedom to say what you think สิทธิมนุษยชน

issue – a problem that needs to be considered ประเด็น

journalist – a person who writes news stories or articles for a newspaper or magazine or broadcasts them on radio or television ผู้สื่อข่าว

comply – to obey a rule or law or do what someone asks you to do ปฏิบัติตาม (กฎหมาย, ข้อเสนอ, etc.)

borderless – without limits ไม่มีขอบเขต

responsible – to be able to be trusted to do something correctly มีความรับผิดชอบ