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Cybercrime law’s status uncertain

Cybercrime law’s status uncertain

A Ministry of Commerce official said in a speech last week that the controversial draft cybercrime law was almost ready to appear before the National Assembly, though another government official dismissed this yesterday.

At a conference on cybersecurity attended by representatives of the public and private sector, including corporate officers from Microsoft, Commerce Ministry Secretary of State Pan Sorasak said the draft law was nearing the final hurdle before being implemented.

“Cambodia is in the process of finalising ... the cyber law,” Sorasak told the room. “It has been reviewed by the Council of Ministers, and it’s ready to be passed on and to be adopted by the National Assembly.”

But the secretive draft law, which was leaked to the public in April, has not yet been reviewed by the Council of Ministers, council spokesman Phay Siphan said yesterday. In fact, the council has yet to hold a meeting about the draft or even see a finished version of it, he added.

“We don’t have anything to finalise,” Siphan said yesterday when asked about Sorasak’s comment. “So far, we don’t have anything that’s official.”

Sorasak could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Siphan directed a Post reporter to Ministry of Interior spokesman Khieu Sopheak to find out how close the draft was to being passed. Sopheak also could not be reached.

When leaked to the public about six months ago, articles that set criminal penalties – including several years in prison for online publications that “undermined the integrity of any government agencies” and content that “devalues the moral of family values” – concerned civil society organisations.

Pech Pisey, director of programs for Transparency International Cambodia, who said he thinks the government should be more open regarding the cybercrimes draft, yesterday said they should also have better communication between ministries.

“It’s hard sometimes to make any meaningful dialogue, because they don’t seem to know what’s going on between ministries,” Pisey said.

ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY EDDIE MORTON

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