A music video calling out the monarchy by a countercultural rap collective is no longer available on YouTube in Thailand at the government’s request.
Two months after the release of its single Reform, a song openly critical of the royalty, Rap Against Dictatorship announced last night that it had been blocked.
“Happy New Year, everyone. This is our New Year’s gift from our government,” the rap group wrote on social media. “Our music video Reform was ordered to be banned by the government, which notified YouTube to restrict access.”
The video was released in November at the height of anti-government protests demanding royal reforms which were suspended for the year-end holidays and unlikely to resume due to the resurgence of COVID-19. Much of the video was filmed live during a march on the Grand Palace to deliver thousands of letters to King Vajiralongkorn.
“You feast on our taxes, so we ceased to be mute. No we ain’t gonna grovel, here’s our three-finger salute,” one rhyme went. “This voice rings a bell from This Fucking Country. That bastard shot our brothers, ain’t that a felony?”
YouTube, like Facebook, complies with court-approved orders to block content deemed illegal in various countries by their governments. It has over the years refused hundreds of requests to remove videos because they were global requests.
The music video Reform, which had garnered more than 9 million views on YouTube, has been unavailable on the platform since Monday night.
Instead, viewers are greeted with a message reading: “This content is not available on this country domain due to a legal complaint from the government.”
The song can still be streamed on Spotify, where it has been played more than 786,000 times.
Rap Against Dictatorship is a group of dissident rappers including Liberate P, Zo9, Jacoboi, Numba9, SBSB, Zhln, 3฿one, Protozua and Hockhacker, the latter was arrested in October and charged with sedition. The artist collective rose to fame in 2018 with its single Prathet Gu Mee (My Country’s Got), which was met by threats from the authorities upon its release.