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Access to information law set to be approved this year, ministry pledges

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Journalists cover news at the Phnom Penh Municipal Court last year. Heng Chivoan

Access to information law set to be approved this year, ministry pledges

The Ministry of Information has pledged to conclude consultations with the Ministry of Justice on the draft law on access to information soon.

“[It will be] submitted to the Office of the Council of Ministers and the National Assembly for approval this year,” Meas Sophorn, undersecretary of state and spokesman for the Ministry of Information told The Post on May 27.

The draft law is currently with the Ministry of Justice which is poring over the penalty chapter.

Earlier, Sophorn who was speaking at the World Press Freedom high-level forum on May 27, said the draft law was open to discussion with various stakeholders in Cambodia, including UN agencies and relevant civil society organisation, who were part of the working group since the beginning of the draft.

However, discussions have ended at technical and inter-ministerial levels.

“Up to now, the working groups of both ministries have been working hard to complete the draft law despite Covid-19.

“It was a challenge. [The Covid-19 situation] delayed discussions for two ministries’ working groups,” Sophorn explained.

The working groups had reached a consensus in many areas, with just the inter-regulation chapter remaining.

“To ensure enforcement is effective when the law comes into force, the working groups need to revise and add some inter-regulatory details,” he said.

Meanwhile, Nob Vy, executive director of the Cambodian Journalists Alliance (CamboJa), told The Post on May 27 that the ministry has already failed to push the draft law for submission to the National Assembly for approval.

“When there is a commitment from the ministry to push the law to be passed, and if it fails again, it means the ministry will lose the value of its commitment,” he said.

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