Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - The ‘ill-willed’ spark cyber law: officials

The ‘ill-willed’ spark cyber law: officials

The ‘ill-willed’ spark cyber law: officials

120524_04

A woman types a text message on a mobile phone at an office in Phnom Penh yesterday. Photograph: Will Baxter/Phnom Penh Post

Cambodia is drafting its first cyber law, a move designed to prevent “ill-willed groups or individuals” from spreading false information, government officials said yesterday.

Press and Quick Reaction Unit spokesman Ek Tha said the law is not intended to restrict media, but to ensure that the “common interest is protected”.

“The government right now is drafting the first-ever cyber law, given the mushrooming of … modern technology like Twitter and YouTube and email and all sorts of technology activity,” Ek Tha said.

“We need to prevent any ill-willed people or bad mood people from spreading false information, groundless information that could tend to mislead the public and affect national security or our society. We need to control this,” Ek Tha said.

An article posted to the PQRU website yesterday reported that the cyber law had been discussed during a meeting on Tuesday between Deputy Prime Minister Sok An and EU Ambassador Jean-Francois Cautain.

The posting referred to an example used by Sok An to illustrate the need for a cyber law.

“For instance, there was a mobile phone message saying that there was a violent clash near the Cambodia-Japan Friendship Bridge between supporters of the [Cambodian People’s Party] and the [Sam Rainsy Party] yesterday evening, but it was totally false,” the deputy prime minister was quoted as saying.

“[P]eople use modern technology to spread false information, so we need a law to regulate them.”

In February, 2011, the Post reported on the minutes of a meeting at which the minister for post and telecommunications requested that internet service providers including Metfone and Ezecom block the blog KI-Media, an opposition website that posts content often highly critical of government officials.

Cambodian Center for Human Rights president Ou Virak told the Post yesterday the government had been working on internet censorship laws for some time, but no draft had been produced.

“We are pretty cautious about how it could be used and abused,” Ou Virak said, pointing to Cambodia’s disinformation law as something widely used to silence opposition voices.

“We already see exposure of human-rights abuses going viral, like when the police are beating protesters.

“International 3G was a major contribution for the population. Any laws to restrict it become a major threat.”

Ou Virak said it would be “pretty scary” if Cambodia adopted the Thai model of internet censorship.

Nguon Teang Pa, executive director of the Cambodian Center for Independent Media, said a cyber law could have a detrimental affect on development.

“There has been lots of money from donors [invested in] Cambodia, and if the government makes such a law, it would mean all the money invested so far is wasted and the government has set back democracy,” he said.

Phu Leewood, secretary-general of the National Information Communication Technology Development of Cambodia, which is spearheading the draft, declined to comment.

Chem Sangva, director-general of the inspection department at the Ministry of Post and Telecommunications, said Cambodia had exchanged experiences with other countries in the region to learn from them in drafting the law.

“This law would help prevent such crimes as terrorism or from other ill-willed people stealing state secrets,” Chem Sangva said.

To contact the reporters on this story: Bridget Di Certo at [email protected]
Kim Yuthana at [email protected]

MOST VIEWED

  • Cambodia unveils new quarantine regulations

    The government has modified Covid-19 quarantine requirements, shortening the duration for, among others, Cambodian officials, foreign diplomats and delegations, investors and inbound travellers in general. According to an official notice signed by Minister of Health Mam Bun Heng late on October 16, quarantine length for Cambodian

  • Cambodia sets new Covid-19 quarantine rules

    The government has modified Covid-19 quarantine requirements, shortening the duration for, among others, Cambodian officials, foreign diplomats and delegations, investors and inbound travellers in general. According to an official notice signed by Minister of Health Mam Bun Heng late on October 16, quarantine length for Cambodian

  • Hun Sen: Cambodia set to fully reopen

    Prime Minister Hun Sen concludes that the October 5-7 Pchum Ben public holiday, during which many people either flocked to their hometowns for family reunion or gathered at tourist attractions across the country, has not caused an outbreak of Covid-19. In a special address to

  • Will Evergrande change the way Chinese developers do business in Cambodia?

    China’s property sector policy has exposed the grim financial condition of real estate developers including those operating in Cambodia, which raises questions over the viability of their projects and business going forward The dark blue netting draping over one of Yuetai Group Co Ltd’

  • Cambodia voted ‘world’s friendliest country’ in Rough Guides reader poll

    Cambodia ranked number one among the “World’s Friendliest Countries”, according to a reader poll conducted by London-based international website “Rough Guides”. Taking submissions through Twitter and Facebook, “Rough Guides”, a well-known travel agency and publisher of guidebooks, said the Kingdom “was by far the

  • S’ville set to turn into ‘second Shenzhen’

    The Ministry of Economy and Finance has awarded a master plan consultancy contract to top Chinese institute for the development and transformation of Preah Sihanouk province into a “Model Multi-Purpose Special Economic Zone”, Southeast Asia’s next logistics and resort hub and innovation centre. The