PM: Fight against fake news

The Phnom Penh Post - - NATIONAL - Niem Ch­heng

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 cy­ber-se­cu­rity 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 cy­ber-crimes. 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 cy­ber-se­cu­rity 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 – Kith 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 cy­ber-se­cu­rity 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 cy­ber-se­cu­rity law,” he said, adding that “those who are con­cerned about the law have the in­ten­tion to com­mit cy­ber-crimes”.

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

Min­istr y of In­te­rior spokesman Phat So­phanit said t he fi­nal stretches of t he law is cur­rently be­ing rev iewed by a work­ing group be­fore be­ing signed off by the min­is­ter. The draft would be put for t he ap­proval of ot her 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”.


Hun Sen raises cy­ber se­cu­rity and ac­cess to in­for­ma­tion in his ad­dress to nearly 5,000 peo­ple at the cor­re­spon­dents’ din­ner held on Fri­day in Phnom Penh.

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