Thailand slipped into the category of non-free countries in comparison to the 2012 edition of the Freedom Barometer. This is due to increased use and stricter application of the countryâ€™s lÃ¨se-majestÃ© laws, which protects the royal family, especially the current King, who is widely revered throughout the country. The last years have seen numerous cases of bloggers and hosts of online forums being charged under the law. The law also includes persecution of third parties who host online platforms where content is posted. Introduced after the last military coup, the newly elected government also does not show any initiatives to ease these limitations of expression, leading to wide spread self censorship. Defamation is a criminal offense, and the 2007 Internal Security
Act grants wide ranging powers to the government in case of vaguely defined security threads. These powers include detention of suspects for up to 30 days without charge. The government blocks internet sites, domestic and foreign alike, which are deemed a threat to national security, especially regarding Muslim extremism, through the Cyber Security Operations Center (CSOC), established in 2011. Although officially only 27% of people accessed the internet last year, the number may be much higher since most Thai people own smart phones with 3G packages. Cases of physical attacks against journalists are rare. However there has been one case of a fatal shooting in 2012 and an environment of impunity regarding acts of violence against journalists is present. Print media outlets are largely owned by big family conglomerates, most with ties to politics. Control of Thailandâ€™s television and radio licenses remains with various government agencies and the military, giving the respective party in power significant influence over the distribution of information.