Monitoring the internet

September 8th, 2015 , The Phnom Penh Post

Coming on the heels of high-profile arrests linked directly to Facebook posts, the Interior Ministry has revealed plans to establish a new “anti-cybercrime” department that will not only “crack down” on crimes like hacking, but a broad range of misdeeds open to interpretation including incitement and insulting or racist language.

Working with other branches of government as well as private service providers, the new department will “gather and analyse” telecommunications data to discover online crime and national security threats, according to a sub-decree signed on August 19 and revealed yesterday. …

Taing Vida

Gov’t slams edict pushback

June 23rd, 2015

Council of Ministers Secretary of State Tek Reth Samrach yesterday rebuked opposition lawmakers Ho Vann and Son Chhay over their criticism of a government directive forbidding ministry employees from dealing directly with lawmakers on corruption issues, calling both misinformed and accusing Chhay of “incitement and provocation”. …

Vong Sokheng

Right to remain silent

June 19th, 2015 , The Phnom Penh Post

Opposition lawmakers and transparency groups have slammed a recent Council of Ministers directive ordering government employees to deny access to parliamentary commissions investigating corruption, saying it severely undermines democracy.

Released yesterday by Secretary of State Tek Reth Samrach, the letter dictates public employees must follow the Anti-Corruption Law’s Article 22 when dealing with information about corruption, which states that complaints should be taken to the Anti-Corruption Commission rather than parliamentary commissions. …

Taing Vida and Shaun Turton

Facebook users may face charges, gov’t says

May 21st, 2015 , The Cambodia Daily

Council of Ministers spokesman Phay Siphan on Wednesday threatened criminal proceedings against Facebook users who insult or defame government leaders in apparent violation of the new so-called “culture of dialogue” between the ruling and opposition parties.

In a post to his own Facebook page titled “A Letter Regarding Prejudiced and Unethical People,” Mr. Siphan claimed that some Facebook users have recently been abusing the freedom of expression they find online. …

Reached by telephone, the government spokesman said he was particularly concerned by ethnic insults from supporters of the opposition, who often accuse the government of continuing to serve the interests of Vietnam. …

Alex Willemyns

Med students accuse uni of graft, gouging

February 27th, 2015 , The Phnom Penh Post

The University of Health Sciences (UHS) rejected allegations from staff and students yesterday that their management is embezzling funds from the national medical exit examinations.

On Tuesday, UHS staff and students accused the university of pocketing funds from the $125 exams that were held between February 5 to 15. …

Khouth Sophak Chakrya and Sarah Taguiam

Council of ministers calls for review of contract with Cintri

February 12th, 2015 , The Cambodia Daily

The government’s faith in Phnom Penh’s embattled trash-collection company appears to have finally been lost after the Council of Ministers announced in a letter on Tuesday that a shake-up was on the way as it considers rescinding Cintri’s exclusive right to manage the city’s garbage for the next 25 years. …

Khy Sovuthy

US mayor wants government to release activists

January 17th, 2015 , The Cambodia Daily

The mayor of Lowell, Massachusetts—which has the second-largest population of Cambodian-Americans in the U.S.—on Friday visited 10 anti-eviction activists inside Phnom Penh’s Prey Sar prison, emerging to announce that he would lobby the government for their release.

Wrapping up a five-day visit to Phnom Penh, Rodney Elliott spent about an hour inside the maximum-security facility, where the female activists have been detained since their convictions over a pair of protests in November. …

Khuon Narim and Holly Robertson

Med school stands firm on fee

January 12th, 2015 , The Phnom Penh Post

Despite outcry from medical students, the government is refusing to reduce the latest in a string of proposed fee hikes, this one nearly doubling the charge for the University of Health Science’s exit exam. …

In a letter sent to the university’s rector on Friday, the National Exam Committee at the Council of Ministers maintained that the fee hike was necessary to cover the rising costs of the test.

Aspiring medical school graduates yesterday expressed disappointment at this newest spike in costs for their degree. In November, the University of Health Sciences, the state’s main medical school, raised the price of tuition and the entrance exam. …

Pech Sotheary

Commune staff get up to 60 pct pay rise

January 10th, 2015 , The Phnom Penh Post

Cambodia’s local authorities will receive a pay bump of up to 60 per cent starting this month, the government revealed yesterday.

A commune chief will now get 400,000 riel (about $100) per month, up from 300,000 riel ($75); first and second deputy commune chiefs will get 350,000 riel ($87.50), up from 240,000 ($62.50); commune councillors will get 300,000 riel ($75), up from 200,000 ($50). …

Chhay Channyda

Monk to use court platform

November 25th, 2014 , The Phnom Penh Post

An activist monk set to face trial today on widely disputed charges of incitement alongside a so-called “terrorist” leader vowed yesterday to use the hearing to preach to the judiciary. …

In a statement released Sunday, 16 NGOs called for authorities to drop the charges against Sovath, adding that, “disconcertingly”, confusion in the court summons made it unclear whether Sovath, too, will be tried for treason and election interference. …

May Titthara

‘Cyber War Team’ to monitor web

November 20th, 2014 , The Cambodia Daily

The Council of Ministers’ Press and Quick Reaction Unit has created a “Cyber War Team” to monitor and collect information from Facebook and other websites in order to “protect the government’s stance and prestige,” according to a proclamation published in the Royal Gazette.

The document, signed by Deputy Prime Minister Sok An and published on October 15, says that the Cyber War Team (CWT) will monitor and diffuse information from “websites, Facebook, Twitter, Google-plus, blogs, YouTube and other media outlets.” …

Matt Blomberg and Kuch Naren

Cambodia ranks 14th in prevalence of ‘slavery’: index

November 19th, 2014 , The Phnom Penh Post

More than 155,000 people in Cambodia are living as modern “slaves”, according to a global index released this week.

The Global Slavery Index 2014, released on Monday by Australia-based NGO Walk Free Foundation (WFF), ranks Cambodia 14th out of 167 countries for the prevalence of slavery, with an estimated 155,800 people enslaved, or 1.03 per cent of the population.

The report defines slaves as people subject to forced labour, debt bondage, trafficking, sexual exploitation for money and forced or servile marriage. …

Alice Cuddy