The move, this week, drew some praise even from anti-government activists but has alienated a large and probably silent contingent of the kingdom’s population, both men and women, who regularly use the site which was in widespread use in the kingdom particularly in Bangkok.

Thailand, on Monday, closed down the sex site Pornhub in the kingdom, a move that has been vocally criticised by users and some political activists. On Thursday, following the endorsement of the Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan Ocha, the man responsible for the closure, Putthipong Punnakan, was defiant but accepted that the government was powerless to stop users bypassing the kingdom’s blocking filters using VPN technology.

Minister Putthipong Punnakan defends the decision to block the adult sex site Pornhub which was blocked online by Thai authorities on Monday. The move immediately drew furious Pornbhub fans to an impromptu protest outside government buildings in Bangkok on Tuesday with mixed reaction from the pro-democracy activists.

Days after the Minister of Digital Economy and Society moved to close down the international adult site Pornhub in Thailand, the Minister, Mr Putthipong Punnakan, has come out to strongly defend the action of the Thai government in response to widespread criticism and even spontaneous protests at government buildings on Tuesday after the site went dark in the land of smiles.

On Thursday, Mr Putthipong, who has even drawn some support from anti-government student protesters on the issue, said that he was acting to defend and protect young Thai people and children from the website’s pernicious influence.

Minster accepted that the government’s powers online are limited but warned the law must be upheld

Mr Putthipong pointed out that the government’s powers and technical abilities did not extend to limiting visibility of the adult site to all adults in Thailand who, he accepted, are free to decide what they want to watch.

He said he accepted that the site can be accessed by users using VPN networks, something which the government is, as of yet, powerless to hinder.

The minister said he was simply doing his duty and upholding Thai law.

Criminal Court ordered the closure

The decision to ban the website came on Monday and followed judicial approval on an application from the government department to the Central Criminal Court in Bangkok under the Computer Crime Act.

Actions taken by the ministry blocked access on up to 190 different internet URLs including redirection to a notice page from the ministry confirming the suspension of the site which did not appear for many as the site’s security protocols instead reported an error when it was directed to the notice.

Pornhub supporters say the move was an abuse of civil liberties and should be reversed immediately

The shock closure drew protesters from all over Thailand who claimed that the government action was a breach of their civil liberties.

Freedom of action is something jealously guarded by Thai citizens who are instinctively opposed to government interference in everyday life. 

Vocal critics of the government arrived at the Government Complex on Chaeng Watthana Road in Bangkok on Tuesday bringing with them Pornhub banners and loudspeakers to make their voice heard. They wanted the site block online lifted and protested into the night.

Bangkok was Pornhub’s tenth-largest market

Thailand’s huge metropolis of Bangkok was Pornhub’s 10th largest global market with many adults in the kingdom using it in private, the site is reported as both popular among men and women.

However, for many conservative Thais, the site is an offence to Thai culture and ironically, they allied this week with more progressive anti-government activists who see the site as both illegal, exploitative and running contrary to modern social values.

Conflict among anti-government activists about the offcial closure of Pornhub in Thailand

A social media pressure group, on Tuesday and Wednesday, called the Anonymous Party, which also supports anti-government protests, confirmed its support for Thai citizens demanding that Pornhub be put back online.

However, activist Nuttaa Mahattana had another point of view. 

Taking to Facebook, she messaged: ‘Do not link this issue to politics and do not support its activities.’ 

She accused the website of being blatantly illegal and guilty of criminal activity under Thai law. ‘Democracy does not mean you can do anything at will with no responsibility,’ she cautioned.

Meanwhile, Suchart Sawadsri, another activist was not so sure. ‘How will Thai politics get better if Pornhub is banned?’, he said, on Monday evening, just after the ban went into place.

On Tuesday, Mr Putthipong, who attended a cabinet meeting in Phuket, received the support and backing of Thailand’s Prime Minister for his stroke saying there was no reason at all for anyone to criticise the minister’s decisive action.

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Further reading:

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