Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Authorities ramp up book raids

Authorities ramp up book raids

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Vendors sell books at stalls along the street in Phnom Penh in 2013. Scott Howes

Authorities ramp up book raids

More raids will be carried out throughout Phnom Penh to seize “unauthorised” books, the capital ’s culture department director Chum Vuthy said.

This follows the confiscation of two books entitled Human Value and Vision for National Reconciliation and Social Restoration.

On Saturday, the Tuol Kork and Daun Penh district authorities, in collaboration with police, seized the copies of the two books from vendors.

They claimed the books – written by the court-dissolved Cambodian National Rescue Party’s (CNRP) lawyer Yem Ponhearith and featuring political figure Kim Sok, who was recently released from jail – were published without the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts’ approval.

“Any book displayed [to the public] needs to abide by the law and have its content approved. It applies to all types of book and we monitor this regularly."

“They [the public] are just surprised at the raids because the author of these books just so happens to be a politician,” Vuthy said, denying any political motive for the seizures.

He also said: “When someone wants to publish a book, he needs to pass it to the authorities to check the accuracy of the contents, for example, facts on history. Upon passing the tests, they need to obtain the publishing permit.”

Political analyst Hang Vito claimed that around 1,000 copies of the books have been published. He wondered why the authorities went after the books and confiscated them only now.

“They [copies of the books] have been sold for a year since Kim Sok was sent to jail. Nobody had problems with it. My question now is, why go after them now that he is out of jail?"

“In practice, we obtain a permit by requesting a code from the national library to enable the publishing of our books. Legally speaking, not all books sold in the market require a permit from the ministry as it would take one to two years to obtain,” Vito said.

Vito himself has written no less than 10 books related to politics in various languages. That being said, he indicated his intention to stop writing about politics.

“It’s a pity that we don’t have the freedom to express our opinions. We are restricted and have been watched over like prisoners. Maybe I will switch to business instead.”

MOST VIEWED

  • Omicron patients can stay home: PM

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has given the green light for anyone who contracts the SARS-CoV-2 Omicron mutation or any other variant to convalesce or receive treatment at home or in any other reasonable non-healthcare setting. The new decision supersedes a restriction on home care for

  • The effects of the USD interest rate hike on Cambodian economy

    Experts weigh in on the effect of a potential interest rate expansion by the US Federal Reserve on a highly dollarised Cambodia Anticipation of the US Federal Reserve’s interest rate hike in March is putting developing economies on edge, a recent blog post by

  • Cambodia’s first ever anime festival kicks off Jan 22 at capital’s F3 centre

    Phnom Penh's first ever Anime Festival will bring together fans, artists, shops and other local businesses with ties to the Japanese animation style for cosplay competitions, online games, pop-up shops and more on January 22, with Friends Futures Factory (F3) hosting. F3 is a project that

  • PM eyes Myanmar peace troika

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has suggested that ASEAN member states establish a tripartite committee or diplomatic troika consisting of representatives from Cambodia, Brunei and Indonesia that would be tasked with mediating a ceasefire in Myanmar. The premier also requested that Nippon Foundation chairman Yohei Sasakawa

  • Demining rat ‘hero’ Magawa dead at 8

    A landmine-hunting rat that was awarded a gold medal for heroism for clearing ordnance from the Cambodian countryside has died, his charity said on January 11. Magawa, a giant African pouched rat originally from Tanzania, helped clear mines from about 225,000sqm of land – the equivalent of 42

  • Hun Sen gets 4th Covid shot, urges compatriots to follow

    Prime Minister Hun Sen and his wife Bun Rany on January 14 received their fourth dose of Covid-19 vaccine and called on compatriots to follow suit as the Omicron coronavirus variant continues to spread in the community. This marks the launch of Cambodia's fourth-dose vaccination campaign,