Minister of Interior Sar Kheng warned that those who spread misinformation about Covid-19 to disrupt society would be held accountable before the law.
“The whole world is standing in solidarity to prevent Covid-19 from spreading, and Cambodia is doing the same. I still continue to ask that we put individual interests aside, and put the people’s interests first, regardless of ethnicity. We are united for the common good.
“There are two separate problems. The first is related to misinformation, which is sometimes against the government but within the framework of democracy.
“They accuse the government of not caring or criticise this or that. If the information is correct, we have to accept it. But if it is false and is spread just to sensationalise certain matters, then that is wrong.
“I ask that these people please kindly refrain from doing such things in the interest of remaining united to protect lives, society and our people.
“Now, we have a problem with Covid-19. So according to our laws, it can be said that those who still use false rhetoric to stir chaos about the diease could be held accountable,” he said.
As Covid-19 infections rise in Cambodia, Sar Kheng also appealed to all Cambodians, saying they shouldn’t discriminate against people of different ethnicity.
“Samdech Techo said that there is no need to divide between Cambodian Muslims, this Khmer, that Khmer. Our Cambodian brothers and sisters have already disseminated this point. The Ministry of Interior also issued this instruction to provinces.
“We don’t need to discriminate against Cambodian Muslims. No matter which nationals come to Cambodia during this problematic time, we mustn’t discriminate against them either,” he said.
On March 18, the Ministry of Information accused 47 Facebook users and pages of spreading misinformation regarding the novel coronavirus outbreak. The users shared fake news to smear the government and cause fear, according to the ministry.
The users received a warning from the ministry, informing them that they will be punished if they don’t change course immediately.
“Despite efforts by the Ministry of Information, other relevant ministries and institutions, the public, and journalists, some Facebook users have created fake news to cheat, fabricate, mislead and change the Covid-19 situation to smear the government and create fear,” the Ministry of Information said in a statement.