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Staff of microfinance institutions VisionFund and Welcome Finance head home after closing their branches yesterday in Phnom Penh. Sreng Meng Srun

Gov’t mobile campaign to end amid grumbling

A government message that’s been playing before every outgoing phone call for the past few weeks – part of a campaign to publicly distance the state from microfinance operators – will be gone by the end of the month.

The decision to pull the plug on the ubiquitous audio and text messages deployed by mobile phone operators comes amid widespread public grumbling on social media about the campaign’s irritating repetitiveness.

Without providing a specific date, Telecommunications Regulator of Cambodia spokesman Im Vutha yesterday said that the government will order all phone companies to pull the plug on the campaign by month’s end.

Vutha added that while the government had never received any official complaints from citizens about the campaign, it believes it has served its purpose.

“The government planned a promotion campaign for the whole year, but if the people understand, we will finish before,” said Vutha.

Earlier this month, Information Minister Khieu Kanharith had said it was important to clarify that microfinance institutions had no connection to the state after unnamed politicians promised to cancel household debts.

Since the messaging campaign began at the end of February, Facebook users have aired their irritation in status updates and comments.

Many complained that the campaign subjected them to unwanted or unnecessary messaging on personal devices, with some users joking that the government should remember their phones were “private, non-state” property.

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