Thailand scraps plan to sue YouTube

The Thai government abruptly scrapped plans to sue Google after the US company agreed to remove from a Web site video clips deemed insulting to the country's revered king, an official, quoted by an Associated Press report, said.

The Associated Press report said the government blocked access to YouTube, a popular video-sharing site owned by Google, on April 4, after Google turned down Thailand's request to remove the clips seen as offensive to King Bhumibol Adulyadej.

'We decided not to sue Google because it has agreed to cooperate in removing 12 video clips from the YouTube Web site,' Vissanu Meeyoo, the Ministry of Information and Communications Technology spokesman, was quote by the Associated Press report as saying.

One clip depicts shoes with the soles pointed toward the king's image, a major taboo in a culture where feet are considered extremely dirty and offensive, the report said.

The video's soundtrack is the Thai national anthem, it added.

'We have the deepest respect for His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej,' Google wrote in a letter to the ministry. 'We likewise respect Thailand's law and tradition and hope that we will be able to reach a mutually acceptable resolution to the current controversy.'

The ministry had planned to file a criminal lawsuit against Google on charges of lese-majeste, or offense against the monarchy, which carries a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison, the report further said.