Somsak Jeamteerasakul’s Facebook post blocked in Thailand

At least one Facebook post made by the Thai historian and monarchy reformist in exile Somsak Jeamteerasakul has been geo-blocked, making it unavailable in Thailand, while users in the UK and France say that they can still see the post.

A cartoon by political satirist ไข่แมว of Somsak's return

On 17 June 2019, Somsak posted pictures of a historical document on his Facebook profile, which he said were notes from 1979 by former Prime Minister (1973-75) and former President of the Privy Council (1975-98) Sanya Dharmasakti about Queen Sirikit. The post disappeared from his profile yesterday (21 July). However, Facebook users in the UK and France say they can still see the post, leading to the suspicion that it has been geo-blocked in Thailand.

Somsak often uses his Facebook account to post commentaries about Thai politics and the monarchy, along with photos of his neighbour’s cat here and there, but his activities stopped after he suffered a haemorrhagic stroke in August 2018, which paralyzed the right side of his body. He returned to Facebook on 9 June in the comment section of a Facebook Live seminar on “Phraya Phahonphonphayuhasena: the People's Party and democratic military”.

Somsak is currently still in exile in France, where he fled after the 2014 military coup. One of his posts has been blocked before. On 4 May 2017, Somsak said that he received an email from Facebook saying that the Ministry of Digital Economy and Society (MDES) sent them a court warrant requesting that they block one of his posts. MDES has also issued an announcement for people not to follow him. Nevertheless, he has at least 355,000 Facebook followers, who rely on his political commentary in times of political uncertainty, especially when the monarchy is involved. After the now-dissolved Thai Raksa Chart Party nominated former princess Ubolratana Mahidol as their candidate for Prime Minister in February 2019, many netizens could be seen posting something along the lines of “I miss Somsak Jeam” and sharing his old posts.  

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