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People browse the internet at a cafe in central Phnom Penh last month.
People browse the internet at a cafe in central Phnom Penh last month. Hong Menea

Optimism high for law on access to information

Though Cambodia’s access to information law has been in the works for over a decade, participants at a seminar on the law yesterday said that they’re optimistic that the time is finally right for it to actually come to fruition.

The law would not only benefit journalists, but the public in general and the country’s economic developments, according to those who attended the event organised by the Advocacy and Policy Institute, and it would also make government officials more accountable and less corrupt.

“I’m encouraged by the commitment that the [Ministry of Information] is making in trying to get this law drafted,” said Raymond Leos, dean of the Faculty of Communications and Media Arts at Pannasastra University. “We are making progress; we are moving forward . . . It’s more encouraging than 10 years ago.”

Last month, the Ministry of Information launched a website to gather feedback on the law from the public. The website is being managed by the ministry and UNESCO – who have hired Leos as a consultant – with a financial support from Sweden. The law is expected to be fully drafted by 2018.

Yesterday’s workshop was convened with the aim of getting feedback from the media, and Pen Bona, president of the Club of Cambodian Journalists, said yesterday that he believed the government would heed their calls. “We have advocated for a long time,” he said.

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