efe-epaBangkok

Thai authorities threatened to block Facebook on Tuesday if the popular social network does not remove the content that the authorities deemed threatening to national security or offensive to the Thai royal family. 

The military junta, which has increased internet censorship since assuming power in the May 2014 coup, demanded, through the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission, that Facebook remove 131 posts on its site by Tuesday morning, or face legal action. 

The Thai Internet Service Provider Association (TISPA) warned Facebook's subsidiary company in Thailand that it would disconnect the content delivery network (CDN) originating Facebook's server if the social media company failed to comply with the Thai government's request.

On Friday, TISPA sent an email notifying Facebook executives in Thailand about the Thai government's demand.

The internet service providers, represented by TISPA, admitted they are under government pressure and that the military junta has demanded the closure of the distribution network to block illegal materials. 

"This action may affect the entire delivery services of www.facebook.com to customers in Thailand," TISPA said in an email published in the Bangkok Post on Tuesday. 

Meanwhile, the junta-appointed National Reform Steering Assembly (NRSA) urged Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-o-cha on Monday to immediately form a working committee in order to provide the junta access to any computer connected in the country without a warrant. 

The prime minister has always shown support for the set up of a single internet gateway in Thailand to impose greater control over digital content.

According to the authorities, about 6,900 websites and online posts have been blocked in the country since 2015. 

In April, the government ordered a prohibition on any online contact with the three critics of the royal family, threatening criminal consequences to those interacting with them. 

Among those three were historian Somsak Jeamteerasakul, who went into exile in France shortly after the 2014 coup; former diplomat and academic Pavin Chachavalpongpun, who is currently living in Japan; and journalist and writer Andrew MacGregor Marshall. 

Human rights organizations have condemned Thailand's Computer Crime Act, saying it is repressive and the restrictions to freedom of expression.  

Thailand's lèse-majesté laws are among the strictest in the world, with up to 15 years of imprisonment to those who disseminate messages the authorities consider offensive to the royal family.

About 105 people have been arrested under the lèse-majesté charges after the 2014 coup, 49 of whom have been sentenced to up to 30 years in prison, and another 64 are in custody awaiting trial, according to activist groups.