Friday, 11.7.2008: Civil Society Worries about Freedom of Expression in Cambodia Which Is Becoming More Restricted for Both Journalists and for the People

Posted on 12 July 2008. Filed under: Week 568 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 12, No. 568

“Officials of local human rights organizations said that Khmer people begin to dare to express their opinion regarding problems they deal with. However, the freedom of expression of citizens is limited and often not welcome by the authorities. ‘Nowadays, they threaten us to leave, and if we do not follow their orders, they will not agree. Now, they are observing us; people living to the West of our place seldom talk. Sorry! Now soldiers arrive, I would like to stop talking. They are following me.’

“The above words are the words of two women living in Kampot, who tried to tell journalists about being followed by local authorities, like also other people in the district who are being evicted from their land.

“Regarding the freedom of expression of these citizens, the president of the Cambodian League for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights [LICADHO] Ms. Pong Chiv Kek [also known as Dr. Kek Galabru] stated that in the last few years, the authorities try to prohibit that people gather to express their opinion – but the authorities object by raising security concerns as their reasons.

“Ms. Pong Chiv Kek said, ‘Especially, when workers want to hold a demonstration for something, they hardly ever obtained a permission, though they apply. Our government restricts gathering and marches to express opinions. Sometimes, just expressing something about the borders, there will be problems – the government uses the court to punish those who have expressed their own opinions.’

“Ms. Pong Chiv Kek, observing the situation of the freedom of expression in Cambodia, added, ‘In a democratic regime, the government is created by the people, and such a government will work for the people; if it is a government created by the people, it must join with the people to develop the country. So the government must contribute by providing enough information that the government does this and does that, it provides forest concession to whom, it wants to build a dam there, or want to develop something here; the people must be provided with enough of this type of information. If the people have obtained such information, they have to gather and to talk; for this, they need freedom of expression.’

“Institutions to which the problem of freedom of expression in Cambodia relates, includes the law drafting institutions, the law implementing institutions, the courts, institutions which provide public information, non-government organizations, and also citizens in general.

“The Cambodian Center for Human Rights president, Mr. Ou Virak, who observes the situation of freedom of expression in Cambodia, stated that Khmer citizens nowadays dare to express their opinions regarding problems they are facing. However their free expression is hindered by the authorities.

Mr. Ou Virak added that Cambodia has laws as well as a Constitution guaranteeing freedom of expression. But on the other side, those laws are not fairly applied by the authorities. He continued, ‘If we look at the implementation, we have police, judicial officials including prosecutors, and the government – important agencies to implement the law, but nowadays, judicial officials, who have the duty to implement the law show much bias. They do not allow people to express their opposing opinions, and even people within a party can often talk only about their party, without being able to talk also about negative points.’

“Mr. Ou Virak went on to say, ‘‘As for the media, Cambodia has laws regulating the flow of information, but those laws have not been implemented efficiently to protect journalists. He added, ‘We see that recently, the courts have been used to restrict the freedom of expression by closing a radio station, and by arresting Dam Sith [the Editor-in-Chief of Moneaksekar Khmer], while there are cases where the government did not investigate the cases threatening and physically abusing journalists or activist who are not on the side of the Cambodian People’s Party. Therefore we say that the courts have not fulfilled their duties; contrarily, they are used by the government to restrict the freedom of expression.’

“Mr. Pen Samithi, the president of the Club of Cambodian Journalists, said that the freedom of expression and press freedom in Cambodia are on the way of improving during these last few years. He added, ‘If we want that people act like in a country where there is Internet in almost all houses, this is impossible. But in practice Cambodia has the ability for qualified action we can take well, but we have to try more, to catch up with other countries, because we are far behind, including in technology and in other fields.’

“However, Mr. Pen Samithi stated also that journalists still face many difficulties to find sources of information, especially information about the government relating to politics.

“Recently, besides the arrest of some journalists on the accusation of defamation and disinformation, according to an investigative report of LICADHO, at least three citizens have been shot dead by the authorities when protesting for land in Preah Vihear province.

“In 2008, Mr. Chan Savet, an investigative officer of the Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association – ADHOC – said that because of the land protest, at least 36 citizens have been detained, and 6 citizens are under being searched.” Samleng Yuvachun Khmer, Vol.15, #3356, 11.7.2008

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Friday, 11 July 2008


Chakraval, Vol.16, #2792, 11.7.2008

  • The Enthusiasm about the Preah Vihear Temple Makes the Election Propaganda Move to the Background; Not Many People Are Interested in It


Chouy Khmer, Vol.2, #131, 11.7.2008

  • Samdech Euv [Father King Norodom Sihanouk] Asks Khmer and Siem [Thai] Citizens to Maintain Good Relations by Not Considering the Preah Vihear Temple as a Dispute [according to his letter issued on 9 July 2008]


Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.7, #1690, 11.7.2008

  • The Government Allows Citizens to Have Children as They Want, but They Must Take Care of Their Health [according to Prime Minister Hun Sen’s letter to welcome the World Population Day on 11 July 2008]
  • The Phnom Penh Municipality Plans to Order Private Companies to Create Bus Stations [for long distance buses coming to Phnom Penh] at Suburban Phnom Penh [to reduce traffic congestion in town – according to Mr. Chea Bunthoeun, director of the office of transportation of the Department of Public Works and Transport]
  • Sudan Militants Raided and Killed Seven UN Soldiers in Darfur [9 July 2008]
    G8 Leaders Promise to Solve Food and Oil Crisis


Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.2, #196, 11.7.2008

  • [Opposition Party president] San Rainsy: The Evidences We Have in Our Hands and the Witnesses Are Enough to Win against Hor Namhong by Law


Khmer Sthapana, Vol.1, #46, 11.7.2008

  • [Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian from Phnom Penh] Mr. Son Chhay Asks [Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior] Sar Kheng to Take Action against Cars That Have No Number Plates [but are used for the election campaign]
  • Cambodia Plans to Send Laborers to Work in Qatar [according to undersecretary of state of the Ministry of Labor and Vocational Training Oum Mean]


Koh Santepheap, Vol.41, #6394, 11.7.2008

  • More than 10 Million Ballots and 32,000 Bottles of Non-Erasable Ink [to mark one finger of people who have cast their ballot] Are Prepared for the Election
  • Thai Foreign Affairs Minister [Noppadon Pattama] Resigned – 10 July 2008 – from His Position [after the Thai Constitutional Court decided that his 18 June 2008 signature on the Joint Communique with Cambodia about the Preah Vihear Temple violated the constitution as he did not ask for parliamentary approval]


Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.16, #4638, 11.7.2008

  • Prince Sisowath Thomico Is Not Happy with Sam Rainsy Who Uses His Parents’ Name Regarding the Lawsuit [by Minister of Foreign Affairs Hor Namhong]
  • Singapore Petroleum Company Started to Drill Oil in Block B [since 8 July 2009] [some ownership information: “SPC Cambodia Ltd (“SPC Cambodia”) holds a 33.33% participating interest in Block B. SPC Cambodia was incorporated in the British Virgin Islands as a wholly-owned subsidiary of SPC Production Company Ltd. which in turn is a wholly-owned subsidiary of SPC.”]


Samleng Yuvachun Khmer, Vol.15, #3356, 11.7.2008

  • Civil Society Worries about Freedom of Expression in Cambodia Which Is Becoming More Restricted for Both Journalists and for the People
  • Do Authorities Close Ms. Chea Ratha’s Case by the Power of Money? [regarding an acid attack on TV presenter Ms. In Soklida’s aunt]

Have a look at the last editorial – Without freedom of information AND an active use of this freedom, emotions can easily lead to dangerous misunderstandings.

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Tuesday, 1.7.2008: Capacity and Quality Are Required at the Labor Market Inside and Outside of the Country

Posted on 2 July 2008. Filed under: Week 567 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 12, No. 567

“Phnom Penh: According to a source from the Ministry of Labor and Vocational Training, Cambodia will create a National Occupation Agency soon to help prepare and support exporting part of its labor force to foreign countries. Mr. Pich Sophan, the Secretary of State of the Ministry of Labor and Vocational Training, values to export part of the labor force to foreign countries through labor migration as very important for Cambodia both now and in future, because it contributes to provide income to gain international financial resources in order to support the Cambodian economy, and it can also improve the capacity and the skills of Khmer laborers after they return to the country.

“Nowadays, Cambodia is facing an increasing labor force which is estimated to be approximately 300,000 persons each year. The Royal Government has tried to deal with this labor force by attracting investors to Cambodia and by accepting graduates to work under this challenge. However, it is not enough; what is important is the involvement of the private sector.

“Obviously, besides about 500 garment and shoe factories which are employing about 500,000 laborers during the period of six months in early 2008, the Royal Government has gained US$1,000 million from foreign investment, which is US$300 million more than during the same period of last year. This number is not high enough for the Royal Government to solve the ongoing unemployment problem. However, the capacity and the quality of the laborers are also problems. The Ministry of Labor and Vocational Training shows that at present, there are 4,400 legal laborers from China, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Thailand in Cambodia.

“Nevertheless, Mr. Chea Mony, the president of the Free Trade Union of Workers of the Kingdom of Cambodia, disagreed that number of foreign laborers could become even higher, and he called on the Royal Government to carefully monitor this in order to uphold the state tax income and to follow the laws. On the other hand, the Undersecretary of State of the Ministry of Labor and Vocational Training, Mr. Uom Mean, evaluated it as a positive sign in the era of globalization, and the mutual exchanges of foreign labor is also showing the start of new developments in Cambodia – it is the use of human resources that have special skills.

“As for Mr. Sok Sina, a Research Associate of the Cambodia Development Resource Institute, he said that he welcomes only foreign laborers with special skills, because they can provide experience and knowledge to our Khmer laborers.

“According to the evaluation above, the quality of laborers is very important when seeking employment in the country, and also when considering to export labor to foreign countries.

“Mr. Rice Grand [phonetic], an expert in development skills in the International Labor Organization [ILO], said that Cambodia can export part of its labor force, but it is necessary to further extend training.

“The Secretary of State of the Ministry of Education, Youth, and Sports Mr. Pit Chamnan said that in 2010, the number of students attending higher education will rise to more than 230,000, for which better education is required. Mr. Jean-Boris Roux, the president of the French and Khmer Chamber of Commerce, acknowledged that educating students with different skills to meet the needs of the labor market is most important to develop the country.

“However, he acknowledged that there is some progress in education, but the quality is limited, making it difficult for different companies to find staff who has the needed skills and high capacity. On 13 June 2008, Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen, head of the Khmer Royal Government, instructed the Ministry of Education, Youth, and Sports to focus on education in the sector of mining and of energy, which will become an important labor market in the next few years.

“As for the exporting of laborers to foreign countries through the ITS and EPS systems [meanings not clear – any suggestions from our readers?], the Ministry of Labor has sent nearly 4,000 laborers to work in South Korea, more that 7,000 laborers to Malaysia, and nearly 20,000 to Thailand.

“Mr. Seng Sata, a department director of the Ministry of Labor and Vocational Training, said that the Ministry of Labor is contacting four other countries to find labor markets for Cambodian laborers who have the skills needed, such as in Singapore, Hong Kong, Japan, and Canada. At present, there are two organizations that help to develop national qualification standards, ILO and KOIKA of South Korea. Therefore, from now on, to meet the needs of local and foreign labor markets following the development of the country, Khmer laborers must develop to be laborers who have the respective capacities and qualities.” Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.7, #1681, 1.7.2008

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Tuesday, 1 July 2008


Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.7, #1681, 1.7.2008

  • Capacity and Quality Are Required at the Labor Market Inside and Outside of the Country
  • Ieng Sary [former Khmer Rouge minister of foreign affairs] Is Seriously Ill so that He Could Not Sit and Listen during the Court Hearing [on 30 June 2008]
  • The King Calls Citizens to Vote According to Their Own Conscience
  • Cambodian Delegates Go to Attend the Annual Summit Meeting of the World Customs Co-Operation Council in Belgium
  • Road in Front of the Royal Palace Blocked from Marching or Shouting by Political Parties
  • Gold Sellers of Nine Stalls Robbed in Odongk Market, and Jewelries Worth about US$300,000 Were Taken [Kompong Speu]
  • Thousands of People Revolted against the Chinese Police over One Teenage Girl’s Death [after police claimed that she committed suicide by drowning, while the people claimed that she was raped and killed by throwing her into a river by a son of a local official in Guizhou Province – 贵州省 (simplified) – 貴州省 (traditional)
  • Mugabe Sworn in to Take the Position [of Zimbabwean president] after an Election Which Is Not Trusted Widely


Khmer Sthapana, Vol.1, #146, 1.7.2008

  • Great Heroic King [Norodom Sihanouk] Warned Funcinpec [not to use his portraits for election propaganda – 30 June 2008]
  • Chief of Stung Treng Forestry Officials Is Accused of Releasing Seized Wood of Seven Cubic Meters
    Youth Are Concerned about the Spreading of Drugs in Cambodia
  • Cambodia Needs a Laboratory to Analyze How Many Elephants Are still Free in the Nature


Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.15, #3500, 1.7.2008

  • Police Are Busy with the Election Propaganda Allowing Merchants to Import Contraband into Cambodia Actively


Prachea Chun Khmer, Vol.15, #34, 30.7.2008

  • Community Based Eco-Tourism Guarantees to Have Good Tourism Products [where the community created a tourist resort by using natural or cultural resources as the attraction, and people in the community can benefit from tourists by selling products created by them, moreover the natural and cultural resources of the community will be preserved with the strong involvement by people of that community]


Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.16, #4629, 1.7.2008

  • Thai Opposition Party [Democratic Party] Lodged a Motion against the Listing of the Preah Vihear Temple [as a World Heritage Site on 30 June 2008, as it cuts the wider environment off according to the map produced by Cambodia, without having national borders in the area clarified, which the 1962 International Court of Justice decision had left open, and recommended mutual clarification, which was still not done during the more than 40 years which passed]
  • US Ambassador Admires Club of Cambodian Journalists for the Competition of Writing Investigating Articles [Mr. Om Layum from Rasmei Kampuchea ranks first, Mr. Leang Deluch from Cambodge Soir ranks second, and Mr. Ung Sophea also from Cambodge Soir ranks third]

Have a look at the last editorial – Preah Vihear still in the headlines – more information about Thailand’s and Cambodia’s documents.

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