With more than 110,000 views since being uploaded 2 April, YouTube video Censorsh*t – an innovative play on Thailand’s censorship policy – has been a popular talking point on social networks and the web across Thailand.
It’s below for anyone who hasn’t seen it yet:
The video is inspired by Thai strict TV censorship regulations, familiar to many that reside or know Thailand well, but I was struck with just how the video could relate to web censorship, and the fact that the state retains ultimate control over what netizens in Thailand can read or see alone, with FACT Thai reporting that “425,296 web pages were blocked in Thailand to December 22” – a shocking statistic indeed.
Below is my brief Q&A with the video’s producer, ‘Madastro’ ,a young, Thai student for whom the video was a mid-term project.
1. Can you explain a little about who you are and what you do?
I study in a Multimedia Design program and I’m interested in 2D animation industry, but making short film is also enjoyable to me.
2. I understand that the video is a project you are working on at university – where did you find the inspiration to make such a creative video?
Actually I have an idea to make a satirical joke about censorship for many years, but the ‘snap’ came when I went on a ‘Channel 3’ tour with my faculty.
As they took us to the censoring room, I heard a person in the ‘censoring labour’ say “I have no idea why they order me to censor this stuff”, then I suddenly changed the topic of my project to this.
The real ‘inspiration’ was mostly from the Channel 9’s brainless censorship, not those typical cigarette pixelations, but they pixelate everything that we couldn’t bare to imagine. From the delicious meal that has some alcohol as an ingredient to the scientific model (example from a Pantip.com user) and many more. This is unnecessary and brainless to me, it ruins the whole ‘Modern Nine’ channel, and this should be stopped.
3. Are you surprised how popular the video has become, with more than 100,000 viewings as of yesterday?
I firstly thought that “this vid is going to be popular, somehow”, but I didn’t expect to see 100k views in one week! But the problem that comes with it was some misunderstanding and most of them just did not read the description I wrote (because I was not clever enough to explain the whole idea in the vid) as they viewed the vid as the embedded clip. So I’m not quite satisfied with the ‘result’ .
4. How important an issue is internet censorship in Thailand to you?
In this vid, I was focusing more on the television censorship. To be honest, I don’t have enough information to judge the whole thing about Thailand’s internet censorship, maybe it just didn’t bother me much because I normally just don’t surf porn (laugh) and the other risky sites. Not that I don’t have any concern about it, but just not knowing enough.
5. Finally, what are your plans for the future when you graduate university?
Conquer the world!
Lol just kidding.
I’ll be joining the media industry, and, if fortunately, I might be able to make some change from the inside.
P.s. Actually, I am just a normal student who likes to create some entertaining stuff, nothing special. Thanks again for your concern. :)
Thanks to Madastro for responding so quickly and candidly, good luck for the future and helping change the culture of censorship from the inside.
As it stands, your video has helped raise awareness of censorship and its frankly absurd usage within television – though they may censorship smoking and other actions, Thai authorities are inconsistent enough to allow programs not suitable for kids to run during the day/evening on some channels.
While comparisons draw with internet and print media restrictions are equally as valid, ultimately censorship is censorship, and the video clearly demonstrates how absurd the idea of someone controlling the information that those in Thailand see and hear is.