Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Gov’t to amend Press Law to be ‘in line with current reality’

Gov’t to amend Press Law to be ‘in line with current reality’

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
UN human rights monitor for Cambodia Rhona Smith speaks during the May Day celebration at the capital’s Freedom Park. Smith has expressed concerns over press freedom in Cambodia. Hong Menea

Gov’t to amend Press Law to be ‘in line with current reality’

The Ministry of Information is preparing with relevant ministries’ and institutions’ amendments to the Press Law to bring it in line with current reality, while UN human rights monitor for Cambodia Rhona Smith has expressed concerns over press freedom in Cambodia.

Minister of Information Khieu Kanharith said on World Press Freedom Day on Friday that the ministry is discussing revisions to Chapter 2, Article 20, which covers confidential information, and hopes that the inter-ministerial meetings will be completed soon so the amendments can be submitted to the legislative body for approval.

“The Ministry of Information has set up a committee to amend the 1995 Press Law to revise some articles to be in line with the current situation and the needs of the country,” he said.

Kanharith said the Ministry will hold discussions with media organisations and other stakeholders to gather additional input to promote freedom of expression, press freedom and the right to access information.

“We are preparing to amend the law to oblige newspapers and TV and radio stations to publish corrections when they broadcast or publish factual errors. We are obliged to do this,” he said.

Editors’ qualifications

The minister also raised questions about editors’ qualifications. “Do editors-in-chief and publishers have to have a degree or not? Today, some publishers write Khmer incorrectly,” he said.

He said a publisher should at least have graduated from Grade 12 and worked for five years in the press sector.

“Be informed that we will make amendments to the law. But we will not submit our recommendations immediately. We are holding discussions in our group and then we will invite journalists and human rights institutions to the table,” Kanharith said.

Cambodian Center for Independent Media director Nop Vy responded: “The important thing is the quality of writing, the quality of the news they publish. “If they don’t have the ability, the readers can decide whether to read the news or not.”

But Vy added that journalists themselves must improve their professionalism.

He said the Press Law had existed for a long time but its implementation had not been effective in helping journalists fulfil their work.

Club of Cambodian Journalists president Pen Bona said the Press Law was created more than 20 years ago and had some goods points, but should be updated.

“First, it protects journalists from being imprisoned for doing their job and it protects sources. This point is very important and must be retained."

“But as the law has existed for a long time, some points should be updated, such as incorporating online media,” Bona said.

The UN’s Smith wrote on Facebook on World Press Freedom Day: “In this context, I am concerned that Cambodia’s rank in Reporters Without Borders’ World Press Freedom Index fell 10 places further to 143rd last year.”

She encouraged the government to provide free space for all media – online and offline – including through the adoption and implementation of the draft Access to Information Law.

Smith also once again encouraged the government to drop charges against Uon Chhin and Yeang Sothearin, two former Radio Free Asia reporters.

MOST VIEWED

  • Judge lands in court after crashing into alleged thief

    Sen Sok district police on Thursday sent a Koh Kong Provincial Court judge to the Phnom Penh Municipal Court on manslaughter charges after he crashed his car into a woman riding a motorbike on Wednesday, killing her. District police chief Hour Meng Vang told The

  • Gov’t to boost Siem Reap tourism

    The Ministry of Tourism released the results of an inter-ministerial committee meeting concerning Siem Reap province’s Tourism Development Master Plan for 2020-2035 on Wednesday, revealing the government’s plan to improve the overall tourist landscape there. The meeting was attended by Minister of Tourism

  • Crumbling prices, rent ruffle condo segment

    The prolonged decline in international arrivals to Cambodia intensified by renewed Covid-19 fears has driven down condominium sales prices and rental rates in Phnom Penh, a research report said. CBRE Cambodia, the local affiliate of US commercial real estate services and investment firm CBRE Group

  • Over $3M in traffic fines collected in two months

    Traffic police officers collected over $3 million in fines throughout the Kingdom during the past two months when officers strictly enforced the law in accordance with a May sub-decree, officials said. As incentives, law enforcement officers received between 200,000 and two million riel ($50 to $500) each. The figures

  • More than 10,000 workers suspended

    More than 10,000 workers at 18 factories in Svay Rieng province have been suspended because of Covid-19, said provincial deputy governor Ros Pharith. Home to 11 special economic zones, Pharith said Svay Rieng has not been spared as the pandemic takes a toll on the global economy. “There

  • Nod given for school exams

    The Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport announced that State-run higher educational institutions can hold examinations to end the academic year, while private schools can organise grade 9 and grade 12 examinations at their premises for two days. However, private institutions have to take measures to prevent

  • Kingdom’s exports to US mushroom 25.94% in first five months to $2.4B

    Though Cambodia’s exports to other countries have been stalled amid the evolving Covid-19 environment, the Kingdom’s shipments to the US were worth 25.94 per cent more in the first five months of this year than they were in the year-ago period. Bilateral trade between

  • Oz lauds Kingdom’s passage of money laundering laws

    In a press release published by the Australian embassy in Phnom Penh on Monday, the country applauded Cambodia’s stance on transnational crimes as well as its promulgation of an anti-money laundering law and a law on combating proliferation financing. The praise came after King

  • Lotus face masks designed to cover globe

    A French designer in Cambodia has produced ecological face masks from lotus fibre to supply local and international markets with an eye on preserving ancestral techniques and supporting Cambodian women in rural communities. During a trip to Asia, Awen Delaval, an eco-friendly fashion designer, was

  • Accused not treated equally, says CCHR

    The Cambodia Centre for Human Rights (CCHR) has urged the Court of Appeal to do more to ensure that an accused’s right to a fair trial is fully respected. In a bulletin released on Monday, the CCHR said it had monitored 273 cases at the