Facebook misses Thai deadline to remove footage of king in a crop top

The authorities have redoubled efforts to purge the Thai web following the October ascension of the country’s new king Maha Vajiralongkorn. (File photo: AP)
Updated 16 May 2017
0

Facebook misses Thai deadline to remove footage of king in a crop top

DUBAI: Facebook is still up and running in Thailand, despite the social media giant failing to remove material Thai authorities deemed critical of the monarchy by Tuesday morning’s deadline.

Thailand enforces a lese majeste law which outlaws any criticism of the monarchy and has seen more than 100 people charged on grounds of violating the law since ultra-royalist generals seized power three years ago.
According to the Daily Mail, one of the offending pieces of content includes a purported video of Thai King Maha Vajiralongkorn, 64, strolling around a shopping center with a woman in Germany, while wearing a crop top and seemingly covered in tattoos.
The footage was purportedly filmed in Munich in July last year.
Last week Thailand’s telecom regulator, the NBTC, said it would file a police complaint against Facebook’s Thailand office and shut down the hugely popular site if it did not remove more than 130 “illegal” posts by 10 am local time on Tuesday.

“Facebook is cooperating with Thailand,” Takorn Tantasith, secretary-general of the NBTC told reporters after the 10 am deadline passed.
Takorn said some 97 web pages deemed critical of the monarchy remained on the platform but authorities were seeking court orders to send Facebook demanding their removal.
Under its published policies, Facebook says it will comply with a country’s request to remove content if it receives a valid court order.
“When we receive such a request, we review it to determine if it puts us on notice of unlawful content,” the company told AFP.
“If we determine that it does, then we make it unavailable in the relevant country or territory and notify people who try to access it why it is restricted.”
According to its published data, Facebook made 50 posts unavailable to Thai users after requests from the government in 2016.
No items were restricted in 2015 and 35 items were removed in 2014, the year of the coup.
Vajiralongkorn, 64, became king following the death of his father King Bhumibol Adulyadej who reigned for seven decades.
(With AFP)


Saudi Arabia ‘has a case’ in complaint over World Cup ‘politicization’ by Qatar’s BeIN

Updated 19 June 2018
0

Saudi Arabia ‘has a case’ in complaint over World Cup ‘politicization’ by Qatar’s BeIN

LONDON: Saudi Arabia has a justified case in complaining to FIFA over the “politicization” of the World Cup by the Qatari broadcaster BeIN Sports, a prominent TV analyst has said.
A flurry of comments by hosts and pundits aired on BeIN’s Arabic station prompted the Saudi Arabian Football Federation to complain to FIFA this week, saying the broadcaster was using the football tournament to spread political messages aimed at insulting Saudi Arabia and its leaders.
In its complaint, the federation called on FIFA to take severe sanctions against the Qatari channel and to abolish the rights granted to the network.
One BeIN commentator accused Saudi Arabia of “selling out the Palestinian cause,” while a Doha-based international footballer invited on the channel was allowed to call for an end to the year-long boycott of Qatar by neighbors Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt and Bahrain.
Constantinos Papavassilopoulos, principal TV research analyst at IHS Markit Technology, said that politicized coverage was expressly forbidden by world football’s governing body as well as the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA).
“FIFA and UEFA forbid the transmission of political messages during football matches for which they control the rights. It’s not only comments by the broadcasters — but even banners; everything (political) is forbidden,” the analyst told Arab News.
“So messages about Palestine, about political things, are not allowed.”
Papavassilopoulos said that if there is evidence of such cases, authorities in the Kingdom would be justified in taking the matter to FIFA.
“If there are video clips that show BeIN media personnel speaking against Saudi Arabia, Saudi Arabia has a case,” he said.
But whether FIFA will take any action against BeIN is another matter. Papavassilopoulos pointed to the fact that BeIN is a valued client of FIFA — it bought the rights to host the World Cup across the Middle East and North Africa — and that Qatar plans to host the tournament in 2022.
“BeIN media is a very good client for FIFA. And don’t forget that Qatar is the country that will host the 2022 World Cup,” he said. “It’s going to be very very hard for FIFA to impose penalties on BeIN media knowing that Qatar will hold the next World Cup.”
Some of the biggest names in Arab sport have signed a petition to protest against BeIN’s politicization of World Cup coverage, urging FIFA President Gianni Infantino to investigate the coverage.
FIFA did not immediately respond to a request for comment when contacted by Arab News.