Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Hope for freedom of information?

Hope for freedom of information?

Hope for freedom of information?

Representatives from civil society and the opposition gathered yesterday to push for the adoption of an access to information law – a move that comes less than a month after Prime Minister Hun Sen urged the Ministry of Information to hasten its development.

Two laws dealing with freedom of information – proposed by what was then the Sam Rainsy Party in 2010 and 2012 – have been shot down in the National Assembly, but some participants at yesterday’s workshop were more optimistic about the law’s chances under the current government.

“We have a positive stance that this will happen in the [current] fifth mandate, because people now are implementing social accountability projects,” said Neb Sinthai, director of the Advocacy Policy Institute, one of the workshop’s organisers.

Cambodia National Rescue Party lawmaker-elect Son Chhay, who proposed the last two freedom of information laws, presented his draft law in the workshop’s afternoon session.

The law, he said, would streamline information requests, form an independent commission to decide on requests and ensure that “all the ministries cannot hide their contracts, or their decisions, or the expenses”.

However, despite the government’s seeming willingness to implement the law, he continued, in the past the Cambodian People’s Party has pushed through weakened versions of important legislation in an attempt to appease the international community.

“I’m very worried that Hun Sen is agreeing with the donor countries on the freedom of information law just to please them,” Chhay said.

ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY STUART WHITE

MOST VIEWED

  • US think tank warns of China's 'ulterior motives'

    A US think tank on Tuesday warned that spreading Chinese investment in the Indo-Pacific follows a pattern of leveraging geopolitical influence at the expense of the nations receiving investment, including Cambodia. The report looks at a sample of 15 Chinese port development projects, noting that the

  • More than three tonnes of ivory reportedly bound for Cambodia seized in Mozambique

    A total of 3.5 tonnes of ivory reportedly bound for Cambodia was seized by authorities in Mozambique late last week, according to the NGO Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). CITES' information was based on a report from the

  • Defence Ministry denies weapons in smuggling case came from Cambodia

    After a Thai national was arrested last week for allegedly smuggling guns from Cambodia to Thailand, Cambodia's Defence Ministry has claimed the weapons seized during the arrest are not used in Cambodia, despite the fact that both types of rifle seized are commonly found in

  • Shipwreck found off coast of Koh Kong

    Royal Cambodian Navy researchers are working to identify a decades-old shipwreck found earlier this month off the coast of Koh Kong province. Divers found the 70-metre-long wreck on April 4 about a mile from Koh Chhlam island, according to Navy officials. Deputy Navy Commander Tea Sokha,