Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Info law meet yields slight tweak

Info law meet yields slight tweak

Info law meet yields slight tweak

Only one minor change was made to the draft Law on Access to Information yesterday, meeting approval from free press advocates for addressing one of their concerns, but also drawing frustration at the slow progress of the law.

The previous draft of the law stated that officials can deny information if the “applicant intends to disturb the operation of public institutions”, wording that had struck critics as deliberately vague, and as having the potential to be used to thwart even reasonable requests.

A new version of the law will replace “disturb” with “obstruct”, a change proposed by Wan-Hea Lee, the UN human rights office’s representative in Cambodia. “There was a great deal of discussion about ways in which obstruction can take place … about how access to information contained in fragile documents would be ensured,” she said in an interview yesterday.

Phan Phorp Barmey, senior program manager at the Advocacy and Policy Institute, said he approved of the change. “The focus is on information that provokes violence,” he said, noting the new phrasing would make it harder to withhold information. Barmey, however, also expressed displeasure with the length of the process – the law was first proposed in 2006.

He added that the definitions of confidentiality and “public order” in the law are still “too broad”. Other advocates have expressed concern that the law is purposefully vague on those points to allow the government to easily prosecute journalists.

When asked who will determine whether information is obstructionist, Ministry of Information spokesman Ouk Kimseng said “we have not reached that kind of decision yet”. Kimseng said the draft should be finalised by mid-2017.

MOST VIEWED

  • Volunteer scheme to foster ‘virtuous’ humanitarian spirit

    A senior education official said volunteer work contributes to solidarity and promotes a virtuous humanitarian spirit among the youth and communities. Serei Chumneas, undersecretary of state at the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport, made the comment during the opening of a training programme called “

  • Chinese firms unveil preliminary results on metro, monorail for capital

    Minister of Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol and representatives from China Road and Bridge Corp (CRBC) and its parent company, the state-owned China Communications Construction Co Ltd (CCCC), met on June 24 for talks on results of the firms’ preliminary study on a potential metro

  • ACLEDA, WU to enable global money transfers

    Cambodia's largest commercial bank by total assets ACLEDA Bank Plc and global money transfer firm Western Union (WU) have partnered to offer customers cross-border money transfers to 200 countries via “ACLEDA mobile” app. In Channy, president and group managing director of ACLEDA, said the June 22 agreement

  • Walmart plans to diversify stock of Cambodia goods

    Walmart Inc, the world’s biggest retailer, on June 22 reiterated recent plans to scale up and greatly diversify its purchases of Cambodian products, according to the labour ministry. This came during a virtual working meeting between Minister of Labour and Vocational Training Ith Samheng and

  • Cambodia detects new Covid cases after 52 days: PM

    After 52 days of zero new Covid-19 cases, Cambodia has now detected new infections, according to Prime Minister Hun Sen. In his special audio address to the nation late on June 28, Hun Sen said the new cases were detected on people who had undergone PCR tests

  • Cotton club growing in Battambang

    The global market for “vegan leather” – materials that act as alternatives to traditional leather that can be synthesised from cork, apple peels, cactus, recycled plastic, grape pomace and pineapple leaves, among other things, and supposedly require no chemicals or water to produce – is expected to