Civil society organisations (CSOs) and experts held a discussion on the challenges and development of digital rights and internet freedom in Cambodia. They urged that these rights and freedom continue to be available.
The virtual “National Conference on Digital Rights and Internet Freedom” was held on January 26 and jointly organised by 13 CSOs.
The conference focused on three themes: Promoting digital rights and protecting privacy; solidarity and a common voice for internet freedom in Cambodia; and open space for civil society and partnership for protecting digital rights and internet freedom.
Pa Nguon Teang, executive director of the Cambodian Centre for Independent Media (CCIM), said the development of the digital and online sectors had given the public unparalleled access to information. This development required all sides – including the government – to ensure the protection of rights and freedom of the public. He noted that some restrictions had been enforced.
“The advance of the digital sector has brought huge benefits. I think the government, donors and other partners should try to invest more in our digital infrastructure and expand internet accessibility to the public,” he said.
He also urged building the capacity of youth to gain benefits from the Internet, while acknowledging that safety measures should also be taken into account.
Sin Puntheary, executive director of the Cooperation Committee for Cambodia, said the conference was organised to give an opportunity for people in these sectors to discuss challenges and offer suggestions to solve any digital-related issues in the future.
“On behalf of all digital working groups in the non-governmental sector, we want to promote a favourable environment, civil society space, and cooperate with all ministries, development partners and the private sector.
“We want to see an internet space where we all have the freedom to express our opinions based on national and international legality,” she said.
So Visothy, secretary of state at the Ministry of Post and Telecommunications, said he was busy in a meeting when reached for comment on January 26.
The number of active mobile phone subscriptions in the Kingdom was 20,816,616 as of the end of April, up 1.64 per cent from 20,481,051 at the end of May 2020, the latest data from the Telecommunication Regulator of Cambodia (TRC) show.
The TRC previously reported that the number of mobile internet subscriptions recorded a 2.36 per cent year-on-year drop to 14,863,435 in May 2020, whereas fixed broadband internet subscriptions logged a 33.07 per cent climb to 249,132.