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Khmer-language websites an emerging presence

Khmer language websites are on the increase, providing Cambodians with greater access to information than ever before, said industry experts.

Internet service provider EZECOM said there are about 1,000 websites in the Khmer language at the moment.

It estimates that by the end of 2013, that figure will double.

“Based on what we see, Cambodians currently prefer to see their news in Khmer,” Paul Blanche-Horgan, CEO of EZECOM said.

According to Mann Sobon, sales supervisor at newly established Internet provider Mega, Khmer websites are fast gaining popularity among Cambodians. With more Cambodians wanting to be informed about developments in the world, he said, Khmer-language websites are poised to play a key role among the country’s non-English-reading population.

Ek Vandy, secretary of state at the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications, said he was encouraged by the growth of Khmer-language websites.

“Khmer-language websites bring development to Cambodians who don’t know foreign languages,” he said.    

Ky Soklim, co-founder of multimedia Khmer-language website thmeythmey.com, agreed that Khmer-language sites provide greater access to news for Cambodians, but said he is concerned about the stability of new Web start-ups.

“There are too many appearing from day to day,” Soklim said.

“More and more people are setting up news sites. Maybe some day most of them will fall down.”

According to Blanche-Horgan, although Cambodian teens and twenty-somethings prefer to read their news in Khmer, they tend to socialise in English, a trend that might deter Khmer-language social media.

“Some younger people like to practice their English or be seen to speak English,” Blanche-Horgan said.

“For example, we often see some English words appearing in the middle of Khmer conversations.”

To contact the reporters on this story: Daniel de Carteret at daniel.decarteret@phnompenhpost.com; Anne Renzenbrink at anne.renzenbrink@phnompenhpost.com and Rann Reuy at reuy.rann@phnompenhpost.com

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