Turbulence in Thailand? The Thai Digital Civil Rights Movement and a ‘Pro-Human’ Contract for theWeb

Michael J. Day, Merisa Skulsuthavong

Research output: Chapter in Book or Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


In November 2019, Sir Professor Tim Berners-Lee’s social ‘Contract for the Web’ was launched by the Web Foundation. In July 2020, the Manifesto for Web Science echoed a similar view, calling for ‘pro-human’ Web governance. This chapter demonstrates how the Internet has become a tool of liberation and oppression by looking into the development of a Thai digital civil rights movement that unfolded across the same period and continues as of 2022. It suggests a state of ‘digital reverse culture shock’ driving an emancipated generation of Thais, previously limited by conservative values and educational inequality, a situation much like 1960s America. Despite constitutional rights to expression, we contend Thai citizens are increasingly prosecuted by Internet ‘blue pencilling’ that seeks to retrospectively adjust laws to militarise the Internet and limit personal expression with respect to it. This hinders those in vulnerable fringes of Thai society most, and, within this chapter, we question the veracity of western web governance agendas in Thailand with the aim of promoting dialogue about digital freedoms, privacy and justice for Thai citizens.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSocial Transformations in India, Myanmar, and Thailand
Subtitle of host publicationVolume II: Identity and Grassroots for Democratic Progress
PublisherSpringer International Publishing
Number of pages28
ISBN (Electronic)9789811671104
ISBN (Print)9789811671098
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2022


  • Censorship
  • Gender
  • Human rights
  • Social contract
  • Sociology
  • Surveillance
  • Thailand
  • Web science


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