Thailand lifts YouTube ban

Friday 31 August 2007 17.35
YouTube - Thailand has lifted its ban on the website
YouTube - Thailand has lifted its ban on the website

Thailand has lifted its ban on the video-sharing site YouTube, after filters were installed to stop viewers seeing clips deemed offensive to the Thai King.

The ban was imposed five months ago after an anonymous user posted a clip showing digitally altered images of King Bhumibol Adulyadej next to a photograph of feet.

Thais believe feet are the dirtiest part of the body and placing feet next to someone's head is seen as an insult.

The number of clips ridiculing the 79-year-old king mushroomed after news spread around the world that Thailand had banned the site.

Thailand's minister for information and communication technology said the ban was lifted yesterday after YouTube installed the filters to prevent Thai users viewing the clips of the king.

YouTube, owned by Internet giant Google, has not removed the clips entirely in order to respect users' freedom of speech.

Thailand's king is the world's longest-reigning monarch and one of the few still protected by tough laws that prohibit any insult against the royal family.