The Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts has warned that social media users who broadcast images, audio and video of content of a sexual nature, that is inflammatory or racist and harms culture and national traditions are forbidden and will be punished.

According to a ministry directive obtained by The Post on Sunday – the ministry claims it has observed users of certain websites and social network sites, especially online businesses, musicians, writers and so-called outside actors of broadcasting images, text messages, audio clips and videos that are immoral and unethical and having a serious impact on culture, tradition, identity and prestige.

To minimise the impact and maintain the dignity and value of being a Cambodian citizen, the ministry said if any individual or group continues to engage in any of the above activities, the ministry will cooperate with the ministries of Interior; Information; Posts and Telecommunications and other relevant institutions to take action.

Besides, complaints will be filed to court under the Criminal Code and the Law on the Suppression of Human Trafficking and Sexual Exploitation in accordance with the offences committed by users of the websites and social networks.

Ministry spokesman Long Ponnasirivath said on Sunday that officials at the ministry are working on the procedure.

He said the first step is to educate those who have wronged or harmed culture and tradition. The next step will be to call in the individuals for questioning and to sign an agreement to stop all activities that the ministry deems inappropriate.

For the last step, he said, the ministry will work with the ministries of Information, and Posts and Telecommunications to demand that all images or videos be removed.

“Until now, we used to take administrative action. We invited people to the ministry for further education for their unusual behaviour on social media, but I don’t remember how many persons,” Ponnasirivath said.

Lek Chumnor, the vice-president of the Khmer Writers Association declined to comment on the matter on Sunday saying he had received no specifics on the instructions.