Published On: Fri, Feb 6th, 2015

Thailands government bans ‘military rule’ computer game

Culture ministry banned sales of Tropico 5 believing it would impinge on Thailand’s national security, says game’s distributor.

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Thailand’s military government has banned a computer game that allows players to declare martial law and run a dictatorship – or alternatively suffer a coup if they fail to keep the military happy – deeming the game a public threat to peace and order, the game’s distributor has said.

According to New Era Thailand’s marketing manager, Nonglak Sahavattanapong, censors at the ministry of culture banned sales of Tropico 5 as they believed it would impinge upon Thailand’s national security.

Tropico 5 allows players to run a country through the colonial era through to the present day. Assuming the role of “presidente” on a tropical island, the player can colonize new lands, draft constitutions and, in a series of options, can in effect choose to declare military rule and shut down democratic processes.

“It’s a good game with positive reviews,” Nonglak told the Associated Press. “We’ve had licenses to distribute Tropico 3 and 4 before, but in the fifth installment, the storyline has developed further and there might be some part of it that’s not appropriate in the current situation.”

It is unclear why exactly the game is considered a threat to national security in Thailand, although it could be argued that it hits too close to home. Thailand’s military has been ruling the country since General Prayuth Chan-ocha staged a coup in May – the country’s 18th in 80 years – effectively overthrowing a democratically elected government and holding a series of detentions in secret locations for activists, politicians, lawyers and journalists.

One prominent Red Shirt activist recently told Thai media that she was blindfolded, beaten and tortured in the three weeks she spent in detention. She has since fled the country and is seeking asylum in Europe.

Prayuth, who was internationally condemned for staging the coup, has come under further fire for his governance of Thailand since assuming power.

Thai junta bans military dictatorship computer game

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