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Thai website to protect the king

The king and queen of Thailand
Thailand's King Bhumibol Adulyadej is highly revered

The government in Thailand has set up a special website urging people to inform on anyone criticising the monarchy.

It has also established an internet security centre to co-ordinate the blocking of websites deemed offensive to the monarchy.

On its first day of operation the centre banned nearly 5,000 websites.

The Ministry of Information had already blocked many thousands of sites, but that work is now being accelerated by the new centre.

Loyalty to the king

For all the many other challenges confronting the new government in Thailand, it has made protecting the image of the monarchy one of its highest priorities, according to the BBC correspondent in Bangkok, Jonathan Head.

Internet users are being urged to show their loyalty to the king by contributing to a new website called protecttheking.net, which has been set up by a parliamentary committee.

On the site's front page it is described as a means for Thai people to show their loyalty to the king by protecting him from what it calls misunderstandings about him.

It calls on all citizens to inform on anyone suspected of insulting or criticising the monarchy.

The site has managed to block 4,818 websites in its first 24 hours of operation.

Sources in the military have told the BBC that top generals are concerned about growing anti-monarchy sentiment, particularly among supporters of the ousted prime minister, Thaksin Shinawatra, many of whom believe that members of the royal family have backed anti-Thaksin movements.

The new website appears to be part of a concerted effort by the government and its conservative supporters to stifle any debate on the future of the monarchy, before it can gather momentum, our correspondent says.



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