News / Asia

Cambodia Denies Ordering Websites Blocked

Cambodian men using the Internet at a coffee shop in Phnom Penh (2010 File)
Cambodian men using the Internet at a coffee shop in Phnom Penh (2010 File)
Robert Carmichael

For the past few weeks, several websites critical of the Cambodian government have been unavailable through a number of Internet service providers, or ISPs. Although the government has denied ordering the sites censored, a leaked memo indicates it indeed ordered access cut.

The Phnom Penh Post newspaper this week published extracts from leaked minutes of a meeting at which the minister for post and telecommunications asked Internet service providers to block access to critical sites.

The Post also ran extracts from an e-mail sent by a senior ministry official congratulating 10 ISPs for helping to block the websites, and admonishing three others for not doing so.

Human rights group LICADHO, which issues an annual report assessing Cambodia’s media, objects to the web censorship.

LICADHO consultant Mathieu Pellerin says the revelation of state censorship is significant.

"Beginning to censor the Internet is basically censoring the last unregulated space for Cambodians to express themselves and reach information that would otherwise not be accessible to them,” said Pellerin. It is an important milestone in the ongoing crackdown on freedom of expression and access to information."

Cambodia’s press technically is free, but every television station is pro-government as are most radio stations. The government uses the threat of criminal defamation charges to curtail criticism.

Internet service provider EZECOM, one of the biggest here, said for weeks that the government had not told it to block sites, and that it had not blocked any.

But EZECOM was one of the 10 ISPs praised in the official’s e-mail for blocking a number of sites, including KI-Media.

EZECOM’s chief operating officer would not comment on the Post’s reports.

The half-dozen or so blocked websites are often critical of the ruling party. Prime Minister Hun Sen is listed on the KI-Media website, for instance, in a column titled "Traitors”"

The site shows exiled opposition leader Sam Rainsy in its “Heroes” column.

KI-Media often runs articles critical of the ruling party and its supporters.

LICADHO’s Pellerin says because Cambodia’s Internet market is small, the effect of barring access to these websites is more significant than it might seem.

"And so you don’t have as many sites as you would have in other countries, so few sites but in a smaller pool of sites affects quite a lot of viewers, and these sites that have been censored were quite popular with the Cambodian community," he added.

The minister for post and telecommunications said on Thursday that there was no policy to block access to websites.

You May Like

Mood Tense Ahead of Scotland Independence Vote

As race to persuade undecided voters continues, No voters say they believe life in Scotland will slowly improve and do not want to take a risk by endorsing independence More

South Africa’s 'Open Mosque' Admits Everyone, Including Critics

Open Mosque founder plans to welcome gay worshipers and allow women to lead prayers More

Ukrainian Activist in Despair About Future of Her Country

IrIna Dovgan, accused of being a spy and tortured by pro-Russian separatists, is appealing to UN Human Rights Council to support her country More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Spacei
X
September 17, 2014 4:20 AM
The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.
Video

Video Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Community

Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.
Video

Video Washington DC Mural Artists Help Beautify City

Like many cities, Washington has a graffiti problem. Buildings and homes, especially in low-income neighborhoods, are often targets of illegal artwork. But as we hear from VOA’s Julie Taboh, officials in the nation's capital have come up with an innovative program that uses the talents of local artists to beautify the city.
Video

Video US Muslim Leaders Condemn Islamic State

Leaders of America's Muslim community are condemning the violent extremism of the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria. The U.S. Muslim leaders say militants are exploiting their faith in a failed effort to justify violent extremism. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Bedouin Woman Runs Successful Business in Palestinian City

A Bedouin woman is breaking social taboos by running a successful vacation resort in the Palestinian town of Jericho. Bedouins are a sub-group of Arabs known for their semi-nomadic lifestyle. Zlatica Hoke says the resort in the West Bank's Jordan Valley is a model of success for women in the region.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid