Underboob Selfies Could Land Women in Jail in Thailand
"We can only warn people to not take it up," said a Culture Ministry spokesperson.
Women in Thailand got a warning from the country's Culture Ministry Monday: posting "underboob selfies" online could be a violation of the country's cybercrime laws, punishable by up to five years in jail.
"When people take these 'underboob selfies' no one can see their faces," culture ministry spokesman Anandha Chouchoti told Reuters. "So it's like, we don't know who these belong to, and it encourages others to do the same. … We can only warn people to not take it up."
Under the country's Computer Crimes Act, passed in 2007, it's illegal to post content that "causes public panic" or "any obscene computer data which is accessible to the public." The Thai Culture Watch Office said that photos featuring the lower half of women's breasts could be considered a violation of the law.
It's not surprising that Thailand's military government is as authoritarian about underboob as it is about everything else. But who would have guessed that underboob selfies would be, as Reuters put it, "a social media trend that has gone viral" in Thailand?
Even before the 2014 military coup, Thailand's Ministry of Culture was known for being zealous with the censorship. Ars Technica notes that among the ministry's stated goals is seeing that "the general public should be good and possess ethical values while taking pride in Thai culture and applying religious principles in their daily life."
But the ministry also notes that the public should "possess creativity and appreciate aesthetics." Perhaps Thailand's underboob-selfie takers are just trying to be good cultural citizens!