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Last Updated: Friday, 31 August 2007, 13:21 GMT 14:21 UK
Thai ban on YouTube website ends
By Steve Jackson
BBC East Asia analyst

Man watching YouTube
Thailand says the offending videos have been filtered out
The authorities in Thailand have ended a ban on the popular video-sharing website YouTube.

The ban was prompted by a row over clips deemed insulting to Thai King Bhumibol Adulyadej.

Thai users will now be able to view the website again but the government says YouTube will filter out any videos that insult the monarch.

Insulting the king is considered an offence in Thailand and is punishable with a 15-year jail sentence.

'Offensive gesture'

Thai authorities banned YouTube five months ago when a video appeared showing two feet pointing to the king - an offensive gesture in Thailand where feet are considered dirty.

The government had demanded that the clips be removed, but YouTube refused and several other videos subsequently appeared.

The ban has now been lifted following an apparent compromise. The Thai government says YouTube's owner - the internet giant Google - has filtered out the offending videos so that users in Thailand cannot see them.

Google has not commented on the case yet.

The dispute highlights problems faced by video-sharing websites like YouTube. With millions of users around the world, it would be almost impossible for it to comply with every law in every country.

YouTube has argued that approximately 60,000 new videos are posted on its website every day and hence it cannot be held responsible for the content of all of them.


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