The Norwegian company behind Thailand’s No. 2 telecom confirmed it shut down Facebook access to its customers late last month at the order of the military junta.
An executive with Telenor Group of Norway said the company blocked service to 10 million DTAC users in Thailand at the order of Thai telecom officials on May 28, one week after the junta seized power, according to Bangkok Post.
According to a report in Norwegian media, Telenor Asia Vice President Tor Odland admitted the company was put in a difficult position of upholding international human rights expectations versus complying with Thai regulations.
“There is no doubt that such cases put a mobile operator under Telenor in a demanding situation. On the one hand we relate to international frameworks such as the UN guidelines on human rights and business,” Odland wrote. “On the other hand, we have that licensee’s duty to deal with local laws.”
Facing criticism for the move at home, Telenor “lamented the impact of the restriction could get for the people of Thailand,” Odland added, according to a translated version of his comments.
At about 3pm on May 28, Faebook became unavailable throughout Thailand for about 30 minutes. Although permanent secretary of the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology Surachai Srisarakam first confirmed it was blocked on the junta’s order, a junta spokesman denied that and blamed it on a technical failure.