In an excellent Siam Voices’  blog Dan Waites asks whether it is time to compare Thailand’s regime to Burma, while this match may be a little stretched (or early, depending on your predicts for the future of Thai politics) research from Freedom House has made equally undesirable yet substantiated predictions putting the country’s internet freedom on a level with China, Vietnam, Tunisia, Iran, Burma and other censorship-heavy states.
The ranking of Thailand’s internet as ‘not free’, in the chart below (which is available online here) comes as little surprise to anyone residing, or taking an interest, in the kingdom where: hundreds of thousands of webpages blocked (the true amount is not confirmed although FACT puts it at 425,296), netizens are arrested (sentenced) for online content while many media outlets’ criticism of the state is managed by self-censorship as th those than publish more critical accounts risk being taken offline.
Looking down the list of countries classed under ‘not free’ puts Thailand in league with some of the world’s most oppressive online markets such as China, Saudi Arabia, Iran and Cuba although Thailand’s score is the least offending in its category. That said, Thailand ranks lower than Zimbabwe, Turkey, Venezuela, Pakistan, Rwanda and other countries whose web space is deemed ‘less open’ rather than ‘not free’.

Furthermore, Thailand is highlighted as one of the five countries that are, according to the Huffington Post, “most at risk of devolving into full-blown internet police states”.
The full description of all five is below. Thailand’s internet freedom takes a huge blow simply by association with these countries, let alone from the report’s assessment of its market, which provides the briefest of summaries:
Russia: Not a good time to be a blogger in Russia, as the country had “at least 25 cases of harassment of bloggers by the authorities” in 2009 and 2010.
Zimbabwe: May I introduce the Interception of Communications Act, which “allows the authorities to monitor telephone and internet traffic, and requires service providers to intercept communications on the state’s behalf.”
Venezuela: The upcoming election of 2012 looks to be a bad time for internet freedom as “the state-run telecommunications firm CANTV has a record of apparently restricting access to websites and blogs at sensitive times, suggesting that there is a strong possibility of increased censorship and harassment of internet users in the coming months.”
Thailand: Internet censorship has been high since 2003 here, with tens of thousands of websites currently censored. One bad sign? A judge recently sentenced a web developer to 13 years in jail for political comments he posted online.
Jordan: While typically having a high level of internet freedom for the region, Jordan recently made waves with a new law that prohibits “the posting of any previously nonpublic information relevant to foreign affairs, national security, the national economy, or public safety.”
While many outsiders put a large number of problems in Thailand – censorship included – down as internal issues, the report clearly communicates a more sinister play at work which is not only preventing the communication of anti-government voicing, but is using fear through the issuing of prison sentences to police Thai web space.
This report is a step in helping publicise the gross mistreatment of many Thai netizens to the global community and applying pressure on the Thai state to revise its managing of content online. The case of Pracha Thai’s Chiranuch Premchaiporn (@jiew) has highlighted the issue on a global scale, through interviews with the likes of the NYT, yet still there is little pressure on Thailand its draconian lese majeste law is used to detain citizens both online and offline.