Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - PM: Fight against fake news

PM: Fight against fake news

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Hun Sen raises cybersecurity and access to information in his address to nearly 5,000 people at the correspondents’ dinner held on Friday in Phnom Penh. Hun sen’s facebook page

PM: Fight against fake news

Prime Minister Hun Sen raised cyber-security and access to information in his address to nearly 5,000 participants at the correspondents’ dinner held on Friday in Phnom Penh.

In his speech, Hun Sen called on officials and members of the press to wage a fight against fake news. He also said two laws are currently in the works to complement the existing 1995 Law on the Press.

Speaking before government officials and journalists – those who attended the annual gathering – the prime minister stressed the significance of having access to information and cybersecurity laws, on top of the press law which was adopted by the National Assembly in 1995.

“Even the countries that claim to respect freedom of speech are concerned about cybercrimes. Some countries which are regarded as [fathers of democracy] have laws to prevent and punish fake news [perpetrators],” he said.

The prime minister warned the possibility of some groups “misinterpreting” such laws and accusing Cambodia of heading towards dictatorship.

“Those who criticise the cybersecurity law have the intention to violate other people’s freedom,” he said.

Hun Sen went on share a piece of recent fake news claiming his death. It resulted in the arrest order of two prominent tycoons – Kit Meng, the owner of Cambodia Broadcasting Services, and Ly Yong Phat.

“To contribute to the destruction of fake news, what should journalists do? Spread the truth . . . that way fake news would fade away,” he said.

In his speech, he also called out some institutions who “had been objects” of “fake news” but did not “hit back in a timely manner”. Calling them “torpid”, he warned of a reshuffle in 2020 if he finds that top officials of those institutions do not react to “false allegations”.

“You must be active to solve it,” he ordered his subordinates.

Council of Ministers spokesman Phay Siphan said on Sunday that the in-progress cybersecurity law was inspired by that practised in other countries.

“Cambodia didn’t just take [the law] out of the jungle. We studied similar laws in the US, Britain and other countries because we are open – we are not a dictatorship or a communist country!"

“The whole world is putting its attention to cybersecurity law,” he said, adding that “those who are concerned about the law have the intention to commit cybercrimes”.

Meas Po and Khov Makara, spokespersons for the Ministry of Post and Telecommunication could not be reached for additional comments.

Ministry of Interior spokesman Phat Sophanit said the final stretches of the law is currently being reviewed by a working group before being signed off by the minister. The draft would be put for the approval of other ministries, he said.

Regarding the access to information law, Ministry of Information spokesman Meas Sophorn said it recently passed a technical assessment and will soon be reviewed by an inter-ministry committee before being forwarded to the council of ministers and parliament.

The director of the Cambodian Centre for Independent Media (CCIM) Nop Vy pointed out the importance of the access to information law and said it was “to ensure social transparency and accountability among the society”.

MOST VIEWED

  • Government set to slash holidays

    The private sector has welcomed the government’s move to reduce the number of public holidays in the in the Kingdom – known for having the most public holidays in the world – by seven days. However, the government had just added the “Day of Remembrance” on

  • Kith Theang being held in PJ prison

    Kith Theang, the brother of prominent businessman Kith Meng, was charged by Phnom Penh Municipal Court late on Monday and sent to the capital’s Police Judiciare (PJ) prison over the nearly 50kg of drugs found in a February 23 raid by authorities on the Rock

  • ‘Kingdom lacks up to 400MW in available electricity’

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has called on the general public, hoteliers and businesspeople with generators to use them as back-up as the Electricity Authority of Cambodia cannot generate enough electricity to meet needs due to low water levels in power station reservoirs. On Saturday evening

  • Sor Chandeth defends his criticism of Hun Sen

    Former senator Sor Chandeth has defended his choice of words when criticising Hun Sen, saying he was merely speaking metaphorically to attack the Prime Minister’s political life, not his actual person, as the latter seeks damages. [img] Chandeth spoke to The Post on Thursday,