Thailand: Protest in Bangkok against ban on pornography websites

·1-min read

A protest has been held in Bangkok after the Thai government announced it has banned Pornhub and 190 other websites showing pornography.

Digital minister Puttipong Punnakanta said the block was part of efforts to restrict access to porn and gambling websites, adding that such content is illegal under the country's cybercrime law.

But the decision has been criticised by Thai users who have been using the hashtag #SavePornhub online.

A demonstration was held at the Ministry of Digital Economy and Society in the capital with protesters holding signs reading "Free Pornhub".

Thailand was in the top 20 for daily traffic to Pornhub in 2019 and has a globally-known sex industry.

An activist group called Anonymous Party posted a statement online saying: "We want to reclaim Pornhub. People are entitled to choices."

Pornhub has not yet commented on the ban.

Some internet users asked whether the ban was about trying to protect Thai morals or because the site featured some compromising royal images.

Thailand's government has faced months of youth and student-led protests demanding the removal of Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, a former junta leader, as well as calling for reforms to reduce King Maha Vajiralongkorn's powers.

Emilie Pradichit, director of the Manushya Foundation, which campaigns for digital rights, said the decision showed Thailand was "a land of digital dictatorship, with conservatives in power trying to control what young people can watch, can say and can do online".