Thailand's military junta will send officials to Singapore and Japan in coming days to seek tighter censorship of social media from Facebook, Google and instant messenger service Line, a government spokesman said on Thursday.
The military has sought to stifle criticism as it consolidates power after toppling an elected government on May 22, detaining politicians and restricting print, radio and broadcast media.
But authorities have struggled to control activity online, where users have used social media to organize protests and express opposition to the coup. The junta has warned about the spread of what it considers provocative material on social media, and asked service providers to help tighten censorship.
"We want to talk to them informally," Pisit Pao-In, adviser to the permanent secretary of the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Ministry, told a news conference on Thursday. "We do not ask them to install any additional software. We just ask them to help filtering content."
Officials would have to travel as the three companies had no representatives in Thailand with whom to hold talks, he said, speaking after a meeting in Bangkok with Internet gateway and Internet service providers (ISPs).
The ministry asked ISPs to block websites within an hour of receiving an official request to take them down, said an ISP source who attended the meeting on Thursday, declining to be identified because he was not authorized by his company to speak to media.
After the coup, the ICT established a commission to monitor websites and block content that flouts military guidelines or Thailand's strict Lese Majeste laws. There are three monitoring centers working 24 hours a day: one at the army, the ICT and the state telecom regulator, Pisit said.