Archive for April 1st, 2007

Saturday, 31.3.2007: Civil Society Organizations Said That The National Election Committee Caused Fear To The Citizen Who Are The Electorate

Posted on 1 April 2007. Filed under: Week 501 |

The Mirror, Vol. 11, No. 501

“The National Election Committee [NEC] ordered all mobile phone service companies on short notice to block all SMS communication [“short message service” – short text messages sent between mobile phones] prior to the election. In its statement of Thursday, 29 March 2007, the NEC requested the mobile phone companies to ban SMS messaging from 31 March to 3 p.m. of 1 April, claiming that SMS can be used as a means to do campaigning for political parties.

“Tep Nitha, the NEC Secretary General, said in the statement that now many Khmer people own mobile phones; therefore, they can receive messages for campaigning from political parties via SMS. He added that because 31 March and 1 April is the day that the law does not allow political parties to do campaigning, the NEC issued this order. He said, ‘This is what we have to do, we do it right according to the law.’

“Mr. Tep Nitha said that the Ministry of Post and Telecommunication agreed to the order from the NEC. He confirmed that the Ministry of Post and Telecommunication ordered three companies which provide mobile phone services – Mobitel, Camshin, and TMIC – to block SMS communication.

“A number of civil society organizations reacted to this order, saying that it is a act not based on a law, and unreasonable. A director [name not specified] of an NGO whose members participate to monitor the elections, said that the use of SMS to do campaigning is impossible, because even though some people own phones, they can not read SMS messages, because all messages can be written only in English. On the other hand, even if any party would want to use SMS for campaigning on the election day, it is impossible, because they do not know the phone numbers of all Khmer citizens.

“A number of NGO officials suspected that this order might be intended to restrict the freedom of communication of election monitors. They said that a number of organizations which monitor the elections, for example the Committee For Free and Fair Elections, had instructed their officials to use SMS to contact each other to report irregularities and other violations on the eve of the election day and on the election day.

“According to an unidentified NGO official, the order from the NEC seems to be intended to intimidate and frighten the electorate. He added that even thought the NEC wants to prevent the organizations which monitor elections from using SMS as a way to report irregularities and other violations during the elections, they can still contact each other by phone.

“A lawyer [who asked not to be identified by name] working for an NGO, said that baning SMS might be illegal. He said that the NEC has no jurisdiction to order the government, and even the government has no right to do anything unreasonable like this, because Cambodia was not in an emergency, for instance a coup, at war, or under attack by terrorists.

“Some observers were concerned that the ruling party would not act according to restricting orders of the NEC, especially on the eve of the election and on the election day. They said that in the past, even though the election campaign was finished, the state media as well as the media of the ruling party, especially television, still continued to broadcast activities that could affect the elections. They also said that the NEC does not seem to see this issue, but the NEC saw that the use of SMS via phone is influential instead.” Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.14, 31.3-1.4.2007

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Saturday, 31 March 2007

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.6, #1305, 31.3.2007

  • On The Final Day Of The Commune Council Election Campaign, The Campaign Of The Cambodian People’s Party Was Conducted On A Large Scale
  • The Sam Rainsy Party Alleged That The National Election Committee In Kompong Thom Prevented Their Party From Campaigning On The Final Day Of The Commune Council Election Campaign

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.14, #3124, 31.3-1.4.2007

  • The Companies Of Two Businesspeople – Mr. Man Sarun And Mr. Sok Khong – Grabbed More Than 3,000 Hectares Of Land Of People In Memot [Battambang]
  • Civil Society Organizations Said That The National Election Committee Caused Fear To The Citizen Who Are The Electorate

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.15, #4250, 30.3.2007

  • Monitoring Drugs In the Mekong River Sub-Region – Cambodia Is Leading [in implementing drug control laws in a senior officials’ workshop on cross-border cooperation]

Reach Seima, Vol.2, #172, 30.3-2.4.2007

  • 75-Year-Old Woman’s Name [Yon Choy] Was Deleted From The Voting List By A Village Chief [she said so in a Sam Rainsy Party conference in Takeo, because a village chief claimed said that she died already]
  • Citizens From 166 Families In Kompong Thom Demanded In Front Of The National Assembly The Rights To Occupy Land [two businesspeople had grabbed 682 hectares]

Samleng Yuvachun Khmer, Vol.14, #3004, 31.3.2007

  • The Commune Council Elections Will Not Be Able To Proceed In A Fair And Just Manner Tomorrow [said civil society officials and observers of the political situation in Cambodia]

Sralanh Khmer, Vol.3, #366, 31.3.2007

  • [Prey Veng Lawmaker and CPP senior official] Cheam Yeap Acknowledged That Top-Ranking Officials Of The Cambodian People’s Party Grabbed Citizens’ Land
  • The Constitution Allows The King To Pardon Prince Norodom Ranariddh Without Requiring A Proposal From Prime Minister Hun Sen

Go to last week’s editorial

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