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27 Mai 2021

Sorn Sarath, CamboJA

Cambodia: UN Special Rapporteur and journalists raise concerns about restrictions of human rights and fundamental freedoms imposed by new govt. policies and legislation

"UN rights envoy raises concerns over controversial internet gateway law", 27 May 2021

In his first speech since taking office …, the UN’s newly appointed special rapporteur to Cambodia, Vitit Muntarbhorn, raised concern over a new law creating a national internet gateway and over any form of control over media or online access.

“Any limitation must be reasonable according to the international standard,” he said. “If your authorities do impose those restrictions on your access to public information then the authorities have [acted] against abiding by international standards such as legality, necessity, and legitimacy,” he said,…

…, Prime Minister Hun Sen signed a sub-decree creating a single national internet gateway (NIG) to control the flow of online traffic in the country…

Vitit said on the webinar … that the new law could lead to repression and a weakening of Cambodia’s democracy.

“What we are advocating is the broadness of democracy and civil space. If talking about accessing public information, I think we should advocate the broad and wide access to data,” he said…

“The government has created a good environment in the media sector without discrimination, intimidation, and political affiliation,” he said.

Speaking at the webinar, W. Patrick Murphy, the US ambassador to Cambodia, said that press freedom is a vital component in a democratic and open society, and that reporting is more vital than ever amid the pandemic.

“Journalists help this by informing the audience of the physical and the financial hardship to come about because of the red zones. And it is important for the government to learn from mistakes and to think better to ensure human suffering was addressed,” he said…