When the News Ignites a Fuse

    Thailand’s censors ban ‘Tropico 5′ video game

  • Ever since the military coup of May 22, 2014 the junta that is ruling Thailand has imposed strict censorship measures on the media and has shown repeatedly that it will not tolerate criticism.
  • Journalists, if they have been temporary detained or reprimanded, have toned their reports down and partisan satellite channels (read: those of political parties) are still off air. The same heavy hand also extends to online and social media, where hundreds of websites have been blocked that carry anti-coup and anti-monarchy contents.
  • Now, the junta’s censorship measures have taken their strangest turn so far:
  • Censors under Thailand’s military junta have banned a city-building simulation computer game, saying it could hurt the country’s security, a video game distributor said Monday.
  • The film and video censorship office blocked sales of “Tropico 5″ because they feared “some part of its content might affect peace and order in the country,” New Era said.
  • She said the office, part of the Culture Ministry’s cultural promotion department, did not provide any further explanation in a written statement received by the distributor on Monday.
  • A video game distributor says Thailand’s film and video censors have banned a city-building simulation game for computers because it could hurt the country’s security.
  • In fact, the whole game franchise is a parody of a stereotypical Latin American banana republic and other historical figures that have meddled there. That has been the case in the previous four games, but the fifth one is apparently too much for the ThaiMiniCult to handle. At this point, the censorship seems already baseless and frivolous – if it wasn’t for this cherry on top:
  • “Playing a game is different from watching a movie, as this game allows all players to express their beliefs without fear of law, so it is inappropriate to distribute such a game, especially during the current situation,” Cultural Promotion Department chief Chai Nakhonchaihe. » The Asian Correspondent article – By Saksith Saiyasombut & Siam Voices August 06, 2014.

    • Thailand marketing manager Nonglak Sahavattanapong said the company will not appeal the decision.
    • Thailand has been under a military dictatorship since May 22, when soldiers overthrew a civilian government in a coup. » The AP article – August 5, 2014.

    Fighting intolerance Image source Tolerance.org


    • The New York Times – Learning Network – When the News Ignites a Fuse
      Overview | Students examine news stories and images that have incited violence in the past to put into historical context recent news coverage. Go to this Media and Building a Healthy Society Lesson.
    • The New York Times – Learning Network – Keeping It Quiet
      Overview | Students consider ways in which countries use censorship to control information. Go to this Law and Society Lesson.
    • World Wise SchoolLooking at ourselves and others
      | Students will recognize that their classmates hold a variety of opinions. Students will see how personal tastes and experiences – in addition to culture – influence our perspectives. Go to this Building Society Lesson.
    • The New York Times – Learning Network – The Political is Personal
      Overview | Students explore their own personal political philosophies by identifying events, people and experiences that have helped shape their beliefs and writing an essay. Go to this Building Society and ESL Lesson.

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    LFS Lessons are sponsored by The Learning Foundation an American non-profit organization which has developed programs to encourage independent thinking for over 30 years. The Foundation also has a training center and a reforestation project on an 8 acre site in the Northeast of Thailand. My name is Keerock Rook and I have been involved with the Foundation since its inception. I edit most of the lessons.