Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - State secrets law won’t stifle press, official says



State secrets law won’t stifle press, official says

State secrets law won’t stifle press, official says

A state secrets law being drafted by the Interior Ministry will not be used to target reporting on sensitive issues such as corruption, a senior military police official said yesterday.

Instead, the draft law squarely aims to protect information that could compromise national security, spokesman Kheng Tito said.

The National Police announced that the law was being drafted late last month following a meeting with officials from Vietnam’s Defence Ministry. Rights groups have since raised concerns that it might be used to silence dissidents and reporters, and have urged public consultation.

Tito said yesterday that “experts” were currently drafting the law, but he did not have specific details of what provisions it contained. But he said that “it’s not about hiding information, such as corruption”.

“I think that this draft [law] aims to protect the secrets of police, military and some other government institutions that are related to national security.”

Tito said that the law would not be used to silence journalists as he believed the media are already able to recognise information that should not be published for national security reasons.

“The leaking of secret information of the police, military and government mainly related to national security issues, such as espionage, would be [illegal] under this draft,” he said.

More than 100 government officials are being sent to Vietnam to learn about encryption and forgery methods as part of the new measures.

Tito said that Vietnam’s help was required due to a lack of expertise in the Kingdom.

He added that just because Cambodia is learning from Vietnam, it “doesn’t mean we work for them”.

Despite Tito’s assurances, Moeun Chhean Nariddh, director of the Cambodia Institute for Media Studies, said questions remained as to why the law was being drafted at the same time as the long-awaited access-to-information law.

“The access-to-information law should be drafted before moving on to another similar law,” he said.

Chhean Nariddh said he understood the need for a law protecting classified information but said it was important that it was drafted in accordance with international standards on press freedom and freedom of information.

“Because a law with ambiguous provisions can be easily interpreted to punish anybody who intends to criticise the government,” he said.

MOST VIEWED

  • Municipal hall releases map detailing colour coded Covid risks by commune

    Phnom Penh municipal governor Khuong Sreng released an official map detailing the red, yellow and dark yellow zones within the city under the new lockdown orders for Phnom Penh announced on April 26. The designation of red, dark yellow and yellow corresponds to areas with high,

  • Phnom Penh unveils rules for post-lockdown transition

    The Phnom Penh Municipal Administration issued a set of detailed guidelines for the seven days to May 12 after the capital emerges from lockdown at the onset of May 6. In the 14-page document signed by municipal governor Khuong Sreng released on the evening of May 5, the

  • SBI LY HOUR Bank Launches Cross Border Money Transfer Service between Cambodia and Vietnam on RippleNet, utilizing DLT

    SBI LY HOUR Bank Plc and Hanoi-based Tien Phong Commercial Joint Stock Bank (TPBank) on Friday launched the first Cambodia-Vietnam money transfer service in real currency via RippleNet, provided by SBI Ripple Asia Co Ltd to provide safe, fast and convenient services. SBI LY HOUR

  • Gov’t issues guidelines as lockdown nears end

    The government has issued a five-page set of instructions to be enforced when the three-week lockdown of Phnom Penh and adjacent Takmao town in Kandal province ends on May 6. According to an announcement signed by Prime Minister Hun Sen on May 4, the instructions cover a

  • Cambodia ready to exit LDC status

    Cambodia is well-prepared to minimise economic risks when it graduates from its Least Developed Countries status, according to a senior official at the Ministry of Commerce on May 7. Four LDCs – Cambodia, Laos, Bangladesh and Nepal – met at a virtual workshop last week to explore potential

  • Tottenham Hotspur to wear ISF Cambodia logo on jerseys in match against Sheffield United

    Last year, the Indochina Starfish Foundation (ISF) – an NGO providing education to underprivileged children in Cambodia – made global headlines with its “socially distanced” football initiative. This year, a world-class football club – Tottenham Hotspur FC – will wear special edition jerseys to show their support for ISF