South East Asia :: March - June 1995

Subject: TAT seeks Internet porn clean-up
Date: April 22, 1995 01:46

00:50 Saswasdee House; Bangkok-Thailand :: 22 APR 95

A story from The Nation, a Bangkok English language daily.

Friday, April 21, 1995.

TAT seeks Internet porn clean-up

The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) is trying to contact Internet's "decision makers" to request the deletion of articles on the country's sex trade from the network, Niti Khongrut, director of TAT Region 4, said yesterday.
Information on sex venues and massage parlours in Thailand, accompanied by graphic pictures and "sex research" reports on Pat Pong prostitutes, was included in "Netscape: The World Sex Guide", a series of articles released last month on Internet, which has more than 50 million subscribers in 91 countries.
The writer of the section on Thailand was identified as Bruce Cassirer, 50, an American who reportedly gathered his information in Phuket, Phang Nga and Krabi provinces.
Niti said Cassirer's articles have given Thailand a bad image, prompting TAT to contact Internet's operator to request Cassierer's material be taken out of the system.
The Interior Ministry has ordered immigration police to arrest Cassirer and Prime Minister's Office Minister Savit Bhothiwihook has asked the Foreign Minister to declare Cassirer 'persona non grata'.
According to Niti, the Foreign Ministry, National Security Council, and Internal Security Organizations Command (Isoc) normally blacklist reporters or writers of work which affects the country's image or security. However, many small-time writers are unaware of this aspect of the three agencies. [Ulp!]
In fact, prostitution does exist in every community, but curbing it is difficult, Niti said.

He explained that prostitution venues are now disguised as restaurants, karaoke bars and barbershops, and it is difficult for TAT to take action.


[Webmaster's note: I have been contacted by Bruce Cassirer, object of the previous newspaper article. In addition to the information he supplied my own research reveals that the article is partially a fiction. For example, although some FAQ sheets and pointer lists point to Cassirer's work, neither he nor his company, TSM Travel authored any section of a pornography FAQ on the Internet; and who the heck is the "Internet's operator"? What we have here is an example of dangerous Net illiteracy being exploited for political purposes. (See also, RE: TAT Seeks Internet Porn Cleanup and Dubious Distinctions :: Guilt by Association for further commentary.)

The article does correctly report that Cassirer has been barred from entering Thailand for reasons based on the misinformation reported in this article. His inquiries to various Thai agencies have elicited no responses. Meanwhile, the contention that venues are now disguised making enforcement difficult falls flat for anyone who has visited Bangkok's notorious Pat Pong.]

Patrick. -- Responses Sought --

A novel . . . is staked out, and must be taken possession of stage by stage; it is impossible to contain, all at once, the proliferation of concepts it ultimately may use. . . A short story occurs, in the imaginative sense. To write one is to express from a situation in the exterior or interior world the life-giving drop -- sweat, tear, semen, saliva -- that will spread an intensity on the page; burn a hole in it.
  graphical element Nadine Gordimer
In answering the question: "Why write short stories?"