Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Kingdom rated ‘Not Free’ by report

Kingdom rated ‘Not Free’ by report

Masked, armed members of the Prime Minister’s Bodyguard Unit sit in a truck outside CNRP headquarters last year.
Masked, armed members of the Prime Minister’s Bodyguard Unit sit in a truck outside CNRP headquarters last year. Hong Menea

Kingdom rated ‘Not Free’ by report

Cambodia earned a “Not Free” rating from Freedom House’s annual Freedom in the World Report yesterday, a label it has received from the American NGO every year since 1995.

Cambodia received a rating of 31 out of 100, a slip of one point from the previous year. The report found that Cambodia’s press was “not free”, while the internet was only “partly free”. The country received low marks for political rights, which earned a six on a seven-point scale, with seven being the worst.

Cambodia also failed to qualify as an “electoral democracy”. Among its ASEAN peers, it only scored better than Brunei, Vietnam and Laos.

The past year saw what many have characterised as an assault on the opposition that included the exile of opposition party president Sam Rainsy, the conviction of his deputy Kem Sokha, the arrests and convictions of two opposition lawmakers, and the conviction in absentia of a third.

It also saw the imprisonment of human rights officials and the assassination of political analyst Kem Ley – all developments that many have labelled as politically motivated.

However, Phay Siphan, spokesman for the government, dismissed the report as “biased”, “false” and “propaganda”.

Observers, however, took the report more seriously, with Chak Sopheap, of the Cambodian Center for Human Rights, saying that “the peaceful exercise of fundamental freedoms is severely restricted” in Cambodia.

UN human rights representative Wan-Hea Lee, meanwhile, said the index “point[s] to weaknesses in the rule of law, still prevalent corruption and a corresponding lack of confidence in corrupt institutions”.

MOST VIEWED

  • Temi tourism project approved by the CDC

    The $500.4 million Tourism, Ecological, Marine and International (Temi) tourism project has been approved by the Council for the Development of Cambodia (CDC), according to a notice on its Facebook page on Monday. The project is part of Chinese-owned Union City Development Group Co Ltd’s (

  • Rainsy will return at ‘favourable time’

    Opposition figure Sam Rainsy on Saturday suggested he would not return to Cambodia as he had previously promised, saying that like liberators King Father Norodom Sihanouk and Charles de Gaulle, he would only do so at a “favourable time”. “I will go back to Cambodia

  • US Embassy urged to stop ‘disrespecting sovereignty’

    The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation called on the US Embassy in Phnom Penh on Saturday to respect the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations after it called former opposition leader Kem Sokha “an innocent man” – a move deemed to be “disrespecting Cambodia’s

  • NagaWorld casino sees net profit of more than $390M last year

    Phnom Penh’s NagaWorld casino posted a 53 per cent net profit increase last year at $390.6 million, a sum which is almost equal to the combined net profit of all Cambodian commercial banks in 2017. NagaWorld’s parent company, NagaCorp Ltd, is listed on the Hong Kong