Using Computers: Upholding Rights and Freedoms while Fighting Crime – Sunday, 18.7.2010

Posted on 21 July 2010. Filed under: *Editorial*, Week 673 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 673

The Ministry of Defense hopes that the use of computers will help better to cut down the names of ‘ghost soldiers’ from the salary lists of the military. This was expressed by the spokesperson of the Ministry of Defense, Lieutenant General Chhum Socheat, who said that the present census of all soldiers will be more accurate and thorough this year than in previous years. “It is an annual census to find out the real number of soldiers and of the children of those soldiers, and to cut out the names of soldiers who have retired or who died, or are not present anymore.” There are some traditional elements in this process, even surprising ones – if one assumes that soldiers would be known, present, and listed at their command posts: “All soldiers of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces are required to show up at their command posts. The soldiers will there be asked to identify themselves by showing themselves and their ID numbers, as well as to specify the number of children they have at present in the lists… the names of soldiers who do not show up will be deleted from the salary lists of the Ministry of Defense.”

Considering the results of a similar exercise in 2008, where – according to Mr. Cheam Yeap, a member of the National Assembly from the Cambodian People’s Party – the government found 10,000 ghost soldiers and 10,000 ghost police, for whom salaries were regularly paid out (to whom?), the new findings might again bring considerable savings to the national budget.
Lieutenant General Chhum Socheat added that there is confidence that this year, the data will be accurate, because of the use of a computer system to store all documents.

The newly created Anti-Corruption Unit of the government will start with to collect about 100,000 declarations of assets, and this process is to be implemented before November 2010, “to facilitate a quick enforcement of the law.” Though the Anti-Corruption Unit is to keep all these documents, it has not been announced how this is going to happen practically. Even trusting the capacities of computer systems, it will be difficult to receive and file more than 1,000 asset declarations per day during the remaining days before November.

But the past week brought also a different reminder about the power of computer systems: Cambodian authorities began creating legislation against cyber crimes. “A workshop about the creation of legislation against cyber crimes was held on 13 July 2010 at the Council of Ministers, and government officials, officials of national and international organizations, and representatives of Internet Service Providers, of telecom companies, of technology companies, of publication institutions, and of other relevant fields participated in the workshop… The advancement of technology is a double-edged sword. It can make many things easier and provides abundant benefits for quick development. But it also creates opportunities for criminals to use it to commit various offenses.” This double reality was pointed out: that by now communication technology plays an ever growing role in society – but on the other hand, Cambodia is also experiencing similar problems and threat as they happen in other countries also, which can be a threat for security, economy, and the general and political life of a society.

This Cambodian workshop was held also to consider how other countries are dealing with this new world wide problem. The head of the Economic Crime Division of the Council of Europe, Mr. Alexander Seger, referred to the Budapest Convention on Cyber Crime of 2001, which had been developed during four years before it was presented to the member states of the Council of Europe, but which is also open for other states to sign and to access, so that among the 47 countries which signed it, there are also non-European countries: Canada, Japan, South Africa, and the United States of America.

These preparatory efforts in Cambodia are considering the same range of criminal activities which happen also in other countries around the globe. “Cambodia has already experienced many problems that allow cyber criminals to commit offenses using such technology. There are many cases where all must pay attention, to prevent cheating on the Internet, to receive the inheritance from someone illegally, not to respond to electronic messages asking for passwords, or messages threatening someone, stealing of passwords, and the distribution of child pornography into computer systems, or the sending of spam mails.”

What is remarkable is the fact that the Budapest Convention on Cyber Crime does not only point to the threats which can come from criminal use of the Internet, and to the need to protect society from them. Included in this document of 28 pages is also a warning that the need for criminal prosecution shall not violate fundamental rights of the citizens to be protected:

The member States of the Council of Europe and the other States signatory hereto,… Convinced of the need to pursue, as a matter of priority, a common criminal policy aimed at the protection of society against cyber crime, inter alia, by adopting appropriate legislation and fostering international co-operation;…

Mindful of the need to ensure a proper balance between the interests of law enforcement and respect for fundamental human rights as enshrined in the 1950 Council of Europe Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, the 1966 United Nations International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and other applicable international human rights treaties, which reaffirm the right of everyone to hold opinions without interference, as well as the right to freedom of expression, including the freedom to seek, receive, and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, and the rights concerning the respect for privacy;

Mindful also of the right to the protection of personal data, as conferred, for example, by the 1981 Council of Europe Convention for the Protection of Individuals with regard to Automatic Processing of Personal Data;…

Have agreed as follows:

Each Party shall adopt such legislative and other measures as may be necessary to establish as criminal offenses under its domestic law, when committed intentionally…

followed by chapters on Illegal access, Illegal interception, Data and System interference, Misuse of devices, Computer-related forgery and fraud, Offenses related to child pornography and to infringements of copyright, etc.

When representatives of governments, of the business community, and of civil society – according to the multi-stakeholder principle introduced by the United Nations for dealing with questions of the present Information Society – met in June for an Asia-Pacific Regional Internet Governance Forum in Hong Kong, the issue of cyber security was also high on the agenda. While there was an emphasis on legal measures to assure the security and stability of the Internet, and on technical facilities to implement such controls, a group of civil society representatives from Southeast Asia made their common concern public in a 2010 Southeast Asia Civil Society Declaration on Internet Governance.

This Southeast Asian reflection starts with a references to the UN Summits for the Information Society of 2003 and 2005, especially with their Declaration of Principles, which the representatives of governments from around the globe had voted upon:

We, the representatives of the peoples of the world, assembled in Geneva from 10-12 December 2003 for the first phase of the World Summit on the Information Society, declare our common desire and commitment to build a people-centered, inclusive and development-oriented Information Society, where everyone can create, access, utilize and share information and knowledge, enabling individuals, communities and peoples to achieve their full potential in promoting their sustainable development and improving their quality of life, premised on the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations and respecting fully and upholding the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Building on this guideline, which had led to the setting up of the Internet Governance Forums, this civil society declaration says among others in a longer text:

Key Observations of the Asia Pacific regional Internet Governance Forum

In response to the first Asia-Pacific Regional Internet Governance Forum Roundtable in Hong Kong on 15-16 June 2010, we, netizens, journalists, bloggers, IT practitioners and nongovernmental representatives from across Southeast Asia, offer the following observations from the Roundtable:

Critical issues of Internet governance in Asia should guide future discussions on Internet governance policy:

Openness

Open access to information is the right of every individual, a right that serves as a fundamental venue for one’s knowledge- and capacity-building. Access to information ultimately helps foster creativity and innovation, thus promoting sustainable human and economic development. Openness is key to a democratic and open society. Restrictions on freedom of opinion and expression online, such as state censorship which blocks Internet intermediaries, is one of the threats to open societies. Intimidation and state censorship facilitate self-censorship, a hazardous social phenomenon that further undermines democracy and openness.

Access

The Internet is for everyone; it is a public good. Yet a Digital Divide between those countries and communities with Internet access and those without persists, and has not been sufficiently addressed in discussions on Internet governance. Proceedings at the Asia-Pacific Regional Internet Governance Forum indicated a higher priority must be placed on addressing not only the global digital divide, but also regional and national ones. While Singapore enjoys high Internet access rates (70% penetration), countries like Burma and Cambodia are at the other end of the spectrum (0.22% and 0.51% penetration, respectively), ranked the lowest of 200 countries studied in the World Bank.

Internet access is fundamental for progress. Various factors, such as political, economic and social development, poverty levels, and technological infrastructure affect whether and how often people can access the Internet. Internationally coordinated efforts must be made to address domestic policies that contribute to the digital divide in Southeast Asia and find solutions to bridge the gap.

Cyber Security

Definition of cyber security must include elements that address the right to privacy and to civil and political freedom.

An individual’s right over his/her own privacy, including personal data and information, must not be sacrificed…

Today’s information society connects personal IT devices directly to the outside world, no longer storing personal data on a single server. Given the involvement of the government and businesses (especially state-owned enterprises) in running such technologies, surveillance and identity theft remain a constant threat against Internet users.

In this regard, any national security policy must not deviate from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and all international human rights covenants to which states are parties…

The references of the Budapest Convention on Cyber Crime and of the Southeast Asia Civil Society Declaration on Internet Governance to human rights and freedoms, not only threatened by criminal action, but also by efforts to impose extensive control, are important reminders that security must be human security.

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A Census to Find Ghost Names of Officials of the Cambodian Troops Is Being Conducted – Tuesday, 13.7.2010

Posted on 14 July 2010. Filed under: Week 673 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 673

Note:

Sorry for the new delays – computer problems.
I hope to be back in Phnom Penh by the coming weekend.

Norbert Klein

“Officials of the Ministry of Defense began a countrywide census of military personnel in an attempt to cut out the number of ‘ghost soldiers’ from the salary lists of the Cambodian government. The spokesperson of the Ministry of Defense, Mr. Chhum Socheat, said on Monday that an annual census of all soldiers will be more accurate and thorough this year than those conducted in previous years.

“Mr. Chhum Socheat said, ‘It is an annual census to find out the number of real the soldiers and of the children of those soldiers, and to cut out the names of soldiers who have retired or who died, or are not present anymore.

“Under the arrangements for the census, which started last week, all soldiers of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces are required to show up at their command posts. The soldiers will there be asked to identify themselves by showing themselves and their ID numbers, as well as to specify the number of children they have at present in the lists.

“Mr. Chhum Socheat added that the names of soldiers who do not show up will be deleted from the salary lists of the Ministry of Defense. All military officials and other personnel have to identify themselves before the end of this month. He added that officials believe that this year, the data will be accurate, because of the use of a computer system to store all documents, organized according to the received information. He said, ‘This time, we will conduct a census that is much more accurate than before. At the end, there will be hardly any ghost soldiers, due to the use of modern technology.’

“Mr. Chhum Socheat went on to say that he does not have detailed information about the current military forces or about the number of ghost names that the government had found in recent years. But he said that he will announce the results of the present census at the end of this month.

“Relating to this issue, a parliamentarian from the Cambodian People’s Party, Mr. Cheam Yeap, said that the government found 10,000 ghost soldiers and 10,000 ghost police in a study in 2008.

“He continued to say that the effort is being implemented after Prime Minister Hun Sen had encouraged all institutions, including the military, to cut out the number of officials who exist only by name. Mr. Cheam Yeap said, ‘We are conducting a more thorough census. No one can falsify it.’

“A Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian, Mr. Yim Sovann, said that he supports the census in the military. He said, ‘I support the census to find the real number of soldiers,’ adding, ‘the number of these not-existing soldiers wastes million dollars of our national resources. We wait to see the results.'” Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #213, 13.7.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2299, 13.7.2010

  • US Under-Secretary of State [William J. Burns] Pays a Visit in Cambodia on 17 and 18 July 2010 [he will meet with officials of the government, of political parties, and of civil society organizations]
  • Police Checked a Storehouse and Found Many Tonnes of Fake Cosmetic Products in Veal Vong Commune [Prampir Makara district, Phnom Penh; a Chinese woman was arrested]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #7006, 13.7.2010

  • The Angkor Sentinel 2010 Global Peacekeeping Operations Exercise Starts from 12 and will continue to 30 July 2010 [under the framework of the United Nations; the multi-nation exercise focuses on keeping peace in the case of riots by uprisings, terrorists, and criminals, and in the case of racial conflicts]
  • Yellow Shirt Leaders Demanded [Thai Prime Minister] Abhisit to Cancel the Memorandum of Understanding about the Cambodian and Siamese Border from 2000 [claiming that it leads to a Thai territorial loss]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3930, 13.7.2010

  • [More than 100 veterans] Representatives of 620 Disabled Families [from Kompong Cham] Come to Ask for an Intervention by [Prime Minister] Hun Sen [in front of his residence in Phnom Penh] over a Social Land Allocation of 4,000 Hectares [to be distributed to them, but so far, they have not been provided with the land]
  • [Vice-president of the Sam Rainsy Party] Kong Korm: At Present the Powerful Are Creating Refugees Everywhere in the Country [as a result of evictions during land disputes]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #213, 13.7.2010

  • A Census to Find Ghost Names of Officials of the Cambodian Troops Is Being Conducted
  • The Russey Keo District Authorities Liberated More Than 250 People from a Company That Sends Workers [illegally] to a Foreign Country [to Malaysia – girls were locked up in a residence to receive training before they are sent; the owner of the residence and some other people were arrested – Phnom Penh]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5248, 13.7.2010

  • The Cambodian Free Trade Union of Workers of Mr. Chea Mony Suspended a Strike [after the worker’s salaries have been increased to a minimum of US$61 per month]
  • Ever More Cambodian Tourists Visited Malaysia during the Last Five Years [there was an increase of about 20% each year; in 2009, there were 43,146 Cambodian tourists, and within four months of 2010, there have already been 15,837]

Have a look at the last editorial – you can access it directly from the main page of the Mirror.
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In 2009 Telecom Cambodia Progressed, but Debt Collection Problem Continues – Tuesday, 20.4.2010

Posted on 21 April 2010. Filed under: Week 661 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 661

“Phnom Penh: Telecom Cambodia held a meeting on 19 April 2010 to reflect on the work in 2009 and to set its goals for 2010, chaired by Mr. Lao Saroeun, a delegate of the Royal Government as the Director General of Telecom Cambodia, and by Mr. Koy Pum, an Undersecretary of State of the Ministry of Post and Telecommunication.

“Mr. Lao Saroeun said that in 2010, Telecom Cambodia encouraged efforts to collect more income, following the circulars and recommendations from different leaders. He advised the telecommunication personnel that efficiency and success result from building up trust from clients. Therefore, they must be able to maintain clients, and must think of setting up more access faciliies and network services to serve the clients.

“Mr. Koy Pum said that Telecom Cambodia is a public institution of the Royal Government of Cambodia. It is responsible for developing telecommunication and information technology, and it is actively extending telecommunication infrastructure, especially the backbone network of telecommunication, and extending the network for clients in cities and in rural areas, to respond to VGN System applications [see Note 1: further down] in the future so as to catch up with the advancement of Communication and Information Technology of the world, and particularly to meet the obvious demands of clients.

“He added that in 2009, with the agreement by the Board of Directors, Telecom Cambodia accomplished several noticeable achievements in constructing telecommunication infrastructure, expanding networks, and providing new services in response to demands. As a result, the number of clients increased steadily. In the meantime, Telecom Cambodia is facing strong competition from other operators that provide similar services, including phone networks and the Internet. This caused Telecom Cambodia to try harder to overcome all challenges and to receive positive results, as seen today.

“He said that these results cannot be seen separate from the efforts of the leaders on all levels and of the employees of Telecom Cambodia who have worked hard. Also, to accomplish new successes in 2010, an important year for telecommunication developments among strong competition, Telecom Cambodia has to define a clear vision and goals, to achieve defined results, based on proper management and monitoring mechanisms, so that the operations of Telecom Cambodia can achieve success.

“The Undersecretary of State added that besides the effects from the global economic crisis, Telecom Cambodia also faces other challenges, such as sturdy competition from other local and international telecommunication operators, difficulties in collecting payments, the limitation of services provided to clients, a lack of qualified human resources, and especially the drop of international telecommunication income from the 001 gateway.” Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6934, 20.4.2010

Note 1:

VGN Systems – Voice Gender Normalization Systems

“Traditionally the interest in voice gender conversion was of a more theoretical nature rather than founded in real-life applications. However, with the increase in mobile communication and the resulting limitation in transmission bandwidth, new approaches to minimizing data rates have to be developed. Here Voice Gender Normalization (VGN) presents an efficient method of achieving higher compression rates by using the VGN algorithm to remove gender specific components of a speech signal, and thus enhancing the information content to be transmitted.

“A second application for VGN is in the field of speech controlled systems, where current speech recognition algorithms have to deal with the voice characteristics of a speaker as well as the information content. Here again the use of VGN can remove the speaker’s voice gender characteristics and thus enhance the message contents.”

Note 2:

It is interesting that such a specific, fairly new field as VGN is mentioned here, but it is surprising that the efforts to introduce economic control by Telecom Cambodia over other Internet Service Providers, by trying to introduce a single, mandatory Internet Exchange Point and a monopoly for the purchase of international connectivity, and even the possibility of Internet content control (as had been reported also in The Mirror) is not mentioned here; related considerations date back into 2009, though the controversy became publicly discussed mainly in 2010. These plans were finally given up, after they had met with much opposition in the business community.

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #457, 20.4.2010

  • The Municipal Court Summons [the opposition party president] Mr. Sam Rainsy to Appear Today [over a complaint of the government accusing him of faking maps and disinformation. – He is abroad; normally he sends a lawyer to represent him]
  • The Naga Casino Was Accused of Illegally Dismissing 41 Staff [they were dismissed with immediate effect without being informed in advance]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2227, 20.4.2010

  • The Thomson Reuters Foundation [“Established in 1982, Thomson Reuters Foundation is a registered charity in Britain and the United States”] Has Not Responded to a Cambodian Request [to correct the size of Cambodia on a table from 176,520 square kilometers to the official size of Cambodia of 181,035 square kilometers]
  • The Prime Minister of the Czech Republic Will Make an Official Visit to Cambodia [from 25 to 28 April 2010]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6934, 20.4.2010

  • In 2009 Telecom Cambodia Progressed, but Debt Collection Problem Continues
  • The European Union Grants US$1.6 Million for Human Rights and Democracy Work in Cambodia
  • The United Nations Calls On Donors to Provide the Funds That They Promised for Cambodia

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3885, 20.4.2010

  • The Head of the Department of Labor of Mondolkiri [Mr. Noy Sron] Recruits His Son as the Deputy Head

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.153, #1, 20.4.2010

  • The Sam Rainsy Party Asked the Khmer Rouge Tribunal to Investigate Government Officials [who are said to have been involved in killing Khmer citizens, and bring the suspects to the Tribunal according to the law]
  • Thai Troops Withdrew from the Chak Chreng Area [after staying there for three days; there were negotiations between army commanders of both countries]
  • Amleang Commune Residents Blocked Road 52 to Protest [against Oknha and Senator Ly Yong Phat’s sugar company that continues to clear the land and blocked the way to their rice fields – Kompong Speu]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5176, 20.4.2010

  • Thirty Five Cubic Meters of Wood Were Found in the Five Star Eva Hotel in Siem Reap [the owner of the wood had reported this to the authorities; no more information is given]
  • Police Cracked Down on a Big Group of Armed Robbers That Had Committed 20 Robberies [arresting seven people – Phnom Penh]

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“Copyright Enforcement Will Cost Jobs and Prevent Access to Education and Entertainment” – Sunday, 4.4.2010

Posted on 5 April 2010. Filed under: *Editorial*, Week 658 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 658

The past week brought quite a number of reports on the follow-up to the Prime Minister’s order to crack down on rampant illegal activities – especially deforestation – and on the sudden results of activities by the authorities, who before did not seem to know much about the warehouses of stored luxury grade wood, probably cut illegally. But now, in a couple of days, thousands of cubic meters of such wood is found. And there are questions considering the Prime Minister’s speech: “Are Oknhas Who Own and Operate Wood Storehouses in Siem Reap [also] Considered Betraying the Nation?” And: “Why Do the Authorities Not Arrest the Owner of the Tiger Beer Company Like They Arrested Yeay Mab for Illegal Wood Trading?” The next days and weeks and months will show more clearly if the present campaign is only a short-lived campaign, or if it is the beginning of some real change, that laws will be applied clearly, publicly, and strongly in future.

The Mirror carried a small headline on 1 April 2010 which also threatened stern legal action: “The Ministry of Information Released a Circular Prohibiting the Copying of Works of Authors Who Have the Copyright for Documents Being Copied” – the license of copy-shops which do this will be canceled, the Circular said, and they will be dealt with according to the law.

When this regulation is implemented, it will affect many hundreds of businesses which are operating publicly all over town in Phnom Penh, and surely also in many other provincial centers. But not only these businesses and their employees will be affected – it will have a very deep, and negative, impact on many sectors of society: first of all on education.

We repeat here a part of a study which has been published on the website of the World Trade Organization – WTO – which predicts grave negative social consequences.

“The implementation of copyright law will affect education and other fields relating to human resource development. In a poor country such as Cambodia, books, CDs and VCDs with copyright simply cannot be afforded because they would be too expensive for the average citizen. Pirated CDs, VCDs, and DVDs as well as copied books, unlicensed films and even imitations of circus performances and pantomimes may soon cease to exist in Cambodia. With the majority of the population earning less than one dollar per day, the enforcement of copyright law would take away the livelihood of thousands, and cut off many from educational and entertainment materials.

[Boldface added by The Mirror]

Source

When Cambodia was accepted into the membership of the WTO in 2004, the enforcement of copyrights – after a period of transition – was part of the deal. Cambodia had applied for membership mainly to get easier access to the markets of other WTO member countries; there had been not so much public debate about what other changes would come. Now, many documents related to Cambodia are on the WTO website – with many points to be considered and to be arranged and applied.

A visit to any of the many copy-shops shows that a large section of their business probably falls under the newly announced prohibition. They will either have to stop producing a lot of educational and study materials – or see their business licenses being revoked and their shops closed. But, as the WTO study says: not only thousands of employees of copy-shops will lose their employment – the whole population will be affected, as the study says: it will cut off many from educational and entertainment materials, as the originals of what is being copied are all much more expensive than the copies available until now.

The protection of intellectual property is nowadays a very high priority of the USA and of other economically strong countries. Any new trade agreement – bilateral or multilateral – has to accommodate these interests. And this does not only relate to books, but – as pointed out in the study above – also to information on CDs and DVDs, for entertainment and for education, and for production by computers: computer software.

Many people and the media have been moved to accept the term “piracy” for copying books or computer programs without the agreement of the original authors. But this term is wrong: “Pirates” take something away, so that the original owner does not have it any more, and they do it violently – if there is resistance, they often kill. By accusing people who share copies to be “pirates,” the argument becomes an ethical one between legal owners – mostly strong – and underpaid teachers in a poor educational system who copy educational material for students who do not have the money to buy original books.

What is hardly known is an aspect of US history: in the 19th century, the USA copied British books and argued that the USA, as a developing country at that time, could not accept the British reservations against copying of material which the USA needed for its development.

With the consent of the author, Roberto Verzola, a researcher in the Philippines, a section of his study is shared here:

Towards a Political Economy of Information – Studies on the Information Economy

Part I. Information and Intellectual Property Rights (IPR)

Chapter 3: U.S. Piracy in the 19th Century

Nineteenth century America was a major center of piracy. The principal target of U.S. pirates was the rich variety of British books and periodicals. The U.S. was a perennial headache among British authors and publishers, because foreign authors had no rights in America. American publishers and printers, led by Harpers of New York and Careys of Philadelphia, routinely violated British copyright and ‘reprinted a very wide range of British publications.’

James Barnes, who wrote an excellent book on this subject, said that the Americans were ‘suspicious about international copyright,’ and were afraid that recognizing international copyright meant ‘exploitation and domination of their book trade.’ Barnes noted that ‘as a young nation, the United States wanted the freedom to borrow literature as well as technology from any quarter of the globe, and it was not until 1891 that Congress finally recognized America’s literary independence by authorizing reciprocal copyright agreements with foreign powers.’

Barnes continued: ‘In 1831, an Act to Amend the Several Acts Respecting Copyrights was signed. It extended the copyright term from fourteen to twenty-eight years, with the option of renewal for an additional fourteen. If an author died, his widow or children could apply for the extension. For the first time, the law allowed musical compositions to be copyrighted. But not a word on international copyright. In fact, foreign authors were explicitly barred from protection, which in essence safeguarded reprints.’

Even the U.S. president at that time, John Quincy Adams, was himself ‘strongly opposed to international copyright.’em>

In 1837, Senator Henry Clay introduced a copyright bill before the U.S. Senate. Within days, ‘a flood of negative memorials reached Washington,’ and objections deluged both houses of Congress. The U.S. Senate’s Patent Committee rejected ‘the intention of the measure,’ its reasons sounding very much like the justification today of Third World countries for their liberal attitude towards intellectual property. The Committee’s reasons were:

  • A copyright agreement would promote higher book prices and smaller editions. The point was driven home by comparing the retail prices of new books in England and America, for it was universally acknowledged that English books were disproportionately more expensive.
  • A large portion of the U.S. publishers’ business ‘would be reduced perhaps as much as nine-tenths, certainly as much as three-fourths, if copyright be granted to foreign books.’
  • Copyright has never been regarded among nations as ‘property standing on the footing of wares or merchandise, or as a proper subject for national protection against foreign spoliation.’ Every government has always been left to make such regulations as it thinks proper, ‘with no right of complaint or interference by any other government.’
  • The U.S. reprinters advanced their own arguments for reprinting British publications without regard for international copyrights
  • They were making available to the American people cheap books which would otherwise be very costly if they had to compensate foreign authors. It was generally acknowledged that the low prices of American books would inevitably rise after the passage of a copyright treaty.
  • Access by the American printing industry to British works provided Americans with thousands of jobs.
  • Books are ‘unlike other commodities’; whereas it took the same amount of labor to create each new hat or boot, ‘the multiplication of copies of a book meant a saving on each additional facsimile.’

Several bills were introduced in 1870, 1871 and again in 1872, but they were all opposed by American publishers and the printing unions. And so it went. In the early 1880’s, the copyrights movement gained more strength, but not quite enough to overcome the more powerful forces that benefited from free and unrestricted access to foreign publications.

In July 1891, the U.S. Congress adopted the Chace International Copyright Act of 1891, establishing a framework for bilateral copyright agreements based on reciprocity. While the act granted copyright to resident and nonresident authors for a period of 28 years, renewable for another 14.

In 1952, the U.S. joined the Universal Copyright Convention [and also, for reference: Universal Copyright Convention, as revised in 1971], but not the Berne Convention, which was considered the ‘premier instrument of international copyright.’ Under the Universal Copyright Convention, the U.S. retained such protectionist measures as the requirement of manufacture in the United States.

In the meantime, the U.S. had been exerting tremendous pressures against Third World governments to adopt strict intellectual property laws and to strengthen their enforcement. By the late 1980’s, a number of governments, including Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan and South Korea in Asia, had finally succumbed to U.S. pressure.

And so in 1989, the U.S. finally and belatedly acceded to the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works.

All the former arguments of the USA and the actions of their government and parliamentary bodies sounds very familiar: these are the arguments from many developing countries today. It took the USA decades, until 1952 and 1989, to accept the conditions, which they now declare to be essential for international trade relations. Some social action groups, and some parliaments and governments try to stand up in the same way as the USA did in the 19th century.

But, as the study published on the WTO website says, there is ample fear that the results of copyright enforcement for Cambodian society at large may be very negative. Who is to blame, and who will have to bear the consequences? There are, of course, also efforts under way to have the whole concept and structures of copyright legislation fundamentally reconsidered, as it was developed under very different international conditions and mostly before modern information technology radically changed the possibilities of access to and sharing of information. It is up to society, and up to the governments caring for their societies, to get this process moving ahead.

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The Government Provides 950,000 Hectares of Concession Land to Companies – Friday, 2.4.2010

Posted on 3 April 2010. Filed under: Week 658 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 658

“Phnom Penh: The Minister of Land Management, Urban Planning, and Construction, Senior Minister Im Chhun Lim, announced that economic concession land of about 950,000 hectares countrywide has been provided to 85 companies.

“He said so during a parliament session in the morning of 1 April 2010 to respond to the questions and claims of an opposition party parliamentarian, Mr. Son Chhay, regarding the economic concession land that the government has provided to companies for investment.

“Senior Minister Im Chhun Lim said that the size of economic concession land that the government has provided to companies is not more than 2 million hectares, as had been claimed by Mr. Son Chhay. Recently, because some companies did not operate appropriately according to contracts, the government had decided to cancel the contracts of 41 companies, and the land involved was more than 300,000 hectares.

“This clarification was made after a parliamentarian from the Sam Rainsy Party, Mr. Son Chhay, had encouraged the government to immediately review the provision of concession land of more than 2 million hectares to check if they violate the land law.

“Mr. Son Chhay said in front of Senior Minister Im Chhun Lim during the parliament session that the powerful and the rich fence their concession land and keep it unused, but they cut the trees at those regions. Therefore, the government should force those companies to do farming soon, to create jobs for farmers who had lost their land, and to grow agro-industrial crops.

“Mr. Son Chhay added that if those companies do not grow anything, land taxes must be imposed on them in order to force these people who just keep their land to sell it later to foreigners [for profit] to do farming, or the land should be taken back from them to be distributed to our farmers among whom not less than 25% lost their land and have no land to do cultivation.

“The annual report from the Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association [ADHOC] indicates that in 2009 there was no official report from the government showing the figures of land that the government had provided as economic concession land to private companies.

“But according to figures from partner organizations gathered by ADHOC, the government provided economic concession land of 1,208,185 hectares to private companies in 2009.

“The government can get income from the provision of economic concession land to private companies for national economic development through investment in agro-industry, and this helps to improve the living conditions of people who are employed for their labor.

“Nevertheless, ADHOC found that by 2009, no private companies that had received economic concession land operated justly, and they were involved in violent activities against citizens.

“Many negative impacts result from the licensing of economic concession land to private companies which heavily affect property, houses, cultivation land, and living conditions of the citizens at most of these economic concession areas countrywide.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5166, 2.4.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Friday, 2 April 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #450, 2.4.2010

  • Four Ebony Traders in Kompong Cham Were Arrested and Two Wood Storehouses in Meanchey District [Phnom Penh] Were Raided
  • International Telecommunication and Information Technology Exhibition Is Held at Koh Pich [Phnom Penh]

Kampuchea Amatak, Vol.11, #752, 2.4.2010

  • The Siem Reap Court Decided to Confiscate Mr. Son Chhay’s Land [about three hectares] and Deliver It to the Apsara Authority [Mr. Son Chhay said that he does not oppose the plan of the Apsara Authority to take the land for development, but he suggested that the government must give him a proper compensation – the offer is only US$0.50 per square meter]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2217, 2.4.2010

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #642, 2.4.2010

  • Sam Rainsy Official and Civil Society [the Union Federation, which consists of the Cambodian Independent Teachers’ Association and the Cambodian Free Trade Union of Workers] Asked Car and Bus Owners Not to Increase Fares during the Khmer New Year

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6924, 2.4.2010

  • The Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) Grants US$2.5 Million to the Ministry of Rural Development for an Integration Project for Rural Development in Krouch Chhmar District [Kompong Cham]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3848, 2.4.2010

  • The Cambodian Government Should Not Disregard the 91 Recommendations of the United Nations [Human Rights Council]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.140, #144, 2.4.2010

  • The Government Provides Land [of 1,650 hectares] of the Ream National Park to a Company to Invest [to create an eco-tourism site – Sihanoukville]
  • China Said That It Should Not Be Blamed over Mekong River Problems [where the waterway becomes shallower because of Chinese hydro-electric dams – but there is a severe drought in South and Southwest China]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5166, 2.4.2010

  • The Government Provides 950,000 Hectares of Concession Land to Companies
  • [The Minister of Information] Mr. Khieu Kanharith: [Minister of the Council of Ministers] Mr. Sok An Is the Person Who Asked for an Amnesty for Mr. Hang Chakra [the editor-in-chief of the pro-opposition party newspaper Khmer Machas Srok; he will be released from prison before the Khmer New Year in April 2010]
  • The Siem Reap Authorities Intercepted Two More Sites Storing Luxury Wood and Found More Than 100 Cubic Meters of Wood [no information about any accusation or arrest of the owners of the illegal wood – the owners, one owns an hotel, the other a restaurant, are known]

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Land Issues of Ethnic Minority People Were Raised during a Meeting of the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination – Thursday, 25.2.2010

Posted on 25 February 2010. Filed under: Week 653 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 653

“Phnom Penh: The loss of forest land as ancentral burying areas and of farming land of ethnic minority people in Cambodia was presented to a committee in Geneva in Switzerland, at the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, meeting last week.

“Three ethnic minority representatives and two non-government organization representatives attended the meeting. They returned to Cambodia on 23 February 2010.

“During a press conference at the NGO Forum on Cambodia in the morning of 24 February 2010, the representatives of ethnic minority people in Cambodia and of non-government organizations shared their reports on the situation of ethnic people in Cambodia, which they had made to the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination [based on the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD).

“The UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination held its 76th meeting from 14 to 23 February 2010. Also, the Cambodian Ambassador to the United Nations, Mr. Sun Suon, attended the meeting, which is held every four years, to respond to questions of the UN committee in relation to the situation of ethnic minority people in Cambodia.

“In the report about the situation of ethnic minority people in Cambodia submitted to the UN committee, non-government officials and ethnic minority representatives stated that recently, there have been some improvements of the situation regarding education, infrastructure, and heath for ethnic minority people. But many serious issues related to natural resources, especially land violations against ethnic minority people in Cambodia, had happened.

“The report pointed to obvious forest violations, such as cases in Kangyu in Ratanakiri, in Bu Sra in Mondolkiri, in Snuol in Kratie, in Rovieng in Preah Vihear, in Oral in Kompong Speu, and at the Yeak Lom lake area in Ratanakiri.

“Forest and farming land, on which the life of ethnic minority people depends, was contracted by the government to private companies as economic concession land for rubber plantations or for mining.

“Ethnic minority people representatives stated during the press conference at the NGO Forum on Cambodia that frequently, their land was grabbed and resources from the forest, on which they rely, were seized. As for the sources of water near their places of living, they were changed by building dams across the river and the water is now contaminated.

“The Cambodian Ambassador to the United Nations was questioned by the UN committee over these serious human rights violations, especially the grabbing of land affecting 179,000 ethnic minority people living in 15 provinces of Cambodia.

“All questions and claims by representatives of the ethnic minority people above were rejected by Mr. Sun Suon, and he said that there are no such hot issues relating to the human rights situation and ethnic minority people’s rights. Regarding the provision of economic concession land to private companies, the government made it based on the law, and he said that forest land belongs to the state, but not to ethnic minority people’s communities.

“Nevertheless, the ethnic minority and non-government organization representatives, who listened to the responses of the Cambodian Ambassador to the UN during the meeting on Sunday, said that they cannot accept such answers that are irresponsible and contradict the real issues. Ethnic minority and non-government organization representatives want the Cambodian government to send a representative from Phnom Penh who knows the actual situation to argue and to respond to the questions of the United Nations at the next meetings.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5135, 25.2.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Thursday, 25 February 2010

Areyathor, Vol.16, #1431, 25-26.2.2010

  • Samdech Dekchor Hun Sun Called Mr. Sam Rainsy a Traitor [for creating trouble at the Eastern border with Vietnam, while Cambodia is having border issues at the Western border with Thailand]

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #419, 25.2.2010

  • [Prime Minister] Hun Sen: There Can Be Opposition Parties Participating in the Next Elections, but There Should Be No Sam Rainsy [as he is convicted and is now facing an additional conviction over border issues]
  • During a Party to Welcome the Return to the Office of Tivea 06 [ “Mr. Anniversary 06,” a nickname of a police official], One Policeman Died and Four Others Were Affected by Poisoning [“Tivea 06” is held again for questioning over this case; before, he had been suspended from his duties in relation to a case of violence against a car mechanic – Phnom Penh]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2186, 25.2.2010

  • The Prime Minister Encourages Careful Recruitment for Outstanding Students to Work in Education Administration and Teaching [while it is known that often jobs are also given for favors, and not only based on qualifications]
  • In 2009 There Were More Criminal Offenses Than in 2008 [there were 3,456 cases, an increas by 575 cases; 353 people were killed and 1,574 were injured – according to the Ministry of Interior]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #611, 25.2.2010

  • People in a Forest Protection Community Received Death Threats from Forestry Criminals Backed by Powerful People [Lumphat district, Ratanakiri]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6893, 25.2.2010

  • Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen: The Government Does Not Have the Right to Cut off Land for Other Countries
  • A Malaysian Man, the Director of a Company, and His Cook, Were Stabbed to Death; this Case Is Suspected to Be a Robbery [Phnom Penh]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.4, #3817, 25.2.2010

  • [Opposition party president] Sam Rainsy: The Sam Rainsy Party Is Concerned about the Loss of the Territory Both at the West and at the East – Who Is A Traitor and Who Is Protecting the Territory Will Be Revealed Soon
  • Vietnam Plans to Plant Rubber Trees in Cambodia, Laos, and Burma, Spending More Than US$500 Million

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #119, 25.2.2010

  • Mr. Hun Sen Will Visit the Troops Again [stationed in Battambang Province, close to the northern border, on 27 February 2010]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5135, 25.2.2010

  • Land Issues of Ethnic Minority People Were Raised during a Meeting of the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination
  • Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen Warned Bangkok Not to Make Any Comments on His Second Visit to the Cambodian-Thai Border
  • Vietnam Assists in Information Technology at the National Assembly of Cambodia [donating printers, computers, and servers worth US$300,000]

Sereypheap Thmey, Vol.18, #1881, 25.2.2010

  • The Ruling Party Has Endless Excuses to Delay Approving an Anti-Corruption Law [Mr. Cheam Yeap, a parliamentarian from the Cambodian People’s Party, the chairperson of the Commission on Economy, Banking, and Audits of the National Assembly, said that we have to wait further, as the draft needs further review. ]

    It is not clear how some of these pieces of information fit together. The Mirror had published a press report on 29.12.2009, which said:

  1. “The draft of an anti-corruption law has not yet been publicly released, though one part of this draft law was disclosed last week by the spokesperson of the Council of Ministers. When this part of the draft became widely known, it was either welcomed or mocked, as this law will require also staff of non-government organizations, who earn little, to declare their property…
  2. “The Council of Ministers spokesperson Phay Siphan reiterated day-before-yesterday that the draft law cannot be made public, because it has yet to arrive at the National Assembly. Once it arrives there, it can then be released to the public…
  3. “However, a secretary of state of the Ministry of Economy and Finance, who asked not to be named, said that the draft has already reached the secretary-general of the National Assembly.”

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There Is Sex Trafficking via Internet Websites – Saturday, 16.1.2010

Posted on 25 January 2010. Filed under: Week 648 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 648


Note:

The delays in publishing because of my international travel should be over by Tuesday.

Norbert Klein

“Phnom Penh: According to a report to sum up the work done in 2009 by the Phnom Penh Municipal Police and to establish directions for the work in 2010, it was fond that, because of poverty and unemployment, human trafficking and sex exploitation continued to increase in Phnom Penh. Most sexual exploitations is done in hotels, guesthouses, massage shops, and Karaoke parlors, and now, there appears a new form of sexual exploitation using Internet based information technology, organizing trafficking through websites on the Internet, to contact and attract children for sex. However, as a result of counter-measure actions, police cracked down in 74 cases; compared to 2008, there was an increase by 29 cases in 2009, and 91 perpetrators were arrested and sent to be dealt with by the courts.

“This report was published during a meeting to sum up the results of security and social order protection operations in 2009, and to establish directions for the work in 2010, organized by the Phnom Penh Municipal Police under the leadership of the Director General of the National Police, Mr. Net Savoeun.

“The report adds that the general trend of criminal offenses still poses complex challenges. Though the authorities tried very hard to handle it, the results were not yet satisfying, especially to find persons being searched, and to investigate persons being searched for which an arrest warrant has been issued, and other search requests, because some criminals escaped and return to Phnom Penh to gather and create new groups and repeatedly commit offenses, before police could finally get hold of them. As for drug concerns, it is also still a challenge for Phnom Penh where many persons that are being searched abuse drugs, including teenage people who secretly use drugs at hotels, guest-houses, or houses for rent, entertainment clubs, and at public places, increasing the number of drug abusers and creating a markets for local distribution to which drugs are supplied by foreign criminals.

“According to this report, there were 392 criminal offenses in 2009; compared to 2008, the number increased by 42 cases. Evidence seized included 13 rifles, 35 pistols, 7 cars, 141 motorbikes, and 11 mobile phones.” Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6865, 23-24.1.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Saturday, 23 January 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #394, 22.1.2010

  • Malaysia Invests US$107.6 Million in Electricity in Cambodia [110 km north of Phnom Penh]
  • The Phnom Penh Police Chief [Mr. Touch Naruth] Promised to Suppress Gambling [on a daily basis]
  • Supporters of Mr. Obama Drop [from 70%] to 57% one Year after He Took Office

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2158, 23.1.2010

  • Samdech Hun Sen Ordered to Demolish the Chhne Prampi Chon Construction [owned by the wife of the Sihanoukville governor] in Sihanoukville [saying that it can affects the environment and disturbs the relaxation of tourists along the beach]
  • Police Arrested a Norwegian Man for Taking a [15-year-old] Girl to a Guesthouse [Siem Reap]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #587, 23.1.2010

  • The Authorities Do Not Dare to Disclose the Names of the Wood Traders Who Hire Citizens to Cut Trees, but Threaten Citizens That Tried to Prevent Forestry Crimes [like in the northeastern provinces bordering Vietnam]
  • Military Police Arrested Three Nigerian Men for using Fake Dollar Notes

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6865, 23-24.1.2010

  • There Is Sex Trafficking via Internet Websites

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5107, 23.1.2010

  • [A pro-Sam Rainsy Party newspaper] Moneaksekar Khmer Is Allowed to Continue Publishing Again [after it had been closed for one year, as the government had sued it for defamation and disinformation – according to the Minister of Information, Mr. Khieu Kanharith]
  • Cambodia Asked South Korea to Help to Construct a Cambodian-Korean Friendship Bridge [across the Mekong River], but Korea Said They Need to Discuss Details First
  • Vietnam Offers Scholarships to 100 Cambodian Students for 2010

Have a look at the last editorial – you can access it directly from the main page of the Mirror.
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Interview between Koh Santepheap and the Director of the Open Institute, Ms. Chim Manavy, Regarding the International Women’s Day 8 March – Thursday, 5.3.2009

Posted on 9 March 2009. Filed under: Week 602 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 602

Apologies for the delays in publishing – due to my international travel. I try to catch up as soon as possible.

Norbert Klein

“1. What is the meaning of 8 March?

“The International Women’s Day (8 March) is a day that women around the world celebrate to commemorate and welcome achievements obtained after struggling for the equality between men and women. These struggles took place during the 19th century in European countries [and the USA] while women in those countries were oppressed, exploited, and forced to be sex slaves. The United Nations celebrates this day and many counties mark it as a national holiday. As women in all continents, often separated by national borders, different races, and by different religions, cultures, economies, and political systems, gather to celebrate their day of commemoration, they can recall the traditions representing at least nine [reference not given for 90 year] decades of struggles for equality, justice, peace, and development.

Note:

It is remarkable how the present commemoration of this history, with early reference to the political struggle of women – initially women textile workers – for economic, political, and social emancipation of women, lost part of its memory, in some countries even turning into a Women’s Day celebration, where the political history is suppressed and replaced by a vague mixture of Mother’s Day and St Valentine’s Day.

The early history was clearly a history of political struggle [most data from the UN website mentioned above]:

  • 1909 – The Socialist Party of the USA organized the first National Woman’s Day which was observed across the United States on 28 February 1909.
  • 1910 – The Socialist International, meeting in Copenhagen, established a Women’s Day, international in character, to honor the movement for women’s rights and to assist in achieving universal voting rights for women.
  • 1913-1914 – As part of the peace movement around the beginning of World War One, 1914-1918, Russian women observed their first International Women’s Day on February 1913. Elsewhere in Europe, on or around 8 March of the following year, women held rallies to protest the war.
  • 1917: Aware of the sufferings of the war, women in Russia protested and organized strikes for “Bread and Peace” on 8 March – the first stage of the Russian Revolution of 1917. Four days later, the Russian head of stage, the Czar, abdicated, and the provisional government granted women the right to vote.
  • 1945 – The Charter of the United Nations, signed in 1945, was the first international agreement to affirm the principle of equality between women and men.
  • 1975 – International Women’s Year, the United Nations began celebrating 8 March as International Women’s Day.
  • 1977 – Only then, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution proclaiming a United Nations Day for Women’s Rights and International Peace, to be observed on any day of the year by member states, in accordance with their historical and national traditions.

Nowadays in Cambodia, the major part of the industrial work force, creating a considerable share of export earnings, are women textile workers. There is ample reason to remember a much earlier section of the social struggles of women. In 1836, the first big strike of women textile workers ever was organized in the USA – and this was in Lowell, Massachusetts. This is now a town of 105,000 people – about 40,000 of them being Cambodian immigrants. Lowell is the second largest “Cambodian” city in the USA, after Long Beach in California.

Are the Cambodian women in the textile industry, fighting for their rights, aware of this historical coincidence? Are the Cambodians in Lowell aware of the historical role of their city of Lowell in the struggle for equal rights for women and men, and of the situation of the women in the textile industry of Cambodia today?

This “Cambodian” US city was the place of the first massive strike of women in the world, The Lowell Mill Girls Go on Strike in 1836, when 1,200 to 1,500 girls walked in procession through the streets, singing their special song:

Oh! isn’t it a pity, such a pretty girl as I –
Should be sent to the factory to pine away and die?
Oh ! I cannot be a slave,
I will not be a slave,
For I’m so fond of liberty
That I cannot be a slave.

The reference to slavery was clearly a reference to their working condition – there is no reference in the records about the history of the International Women’s Day that the political struggles considered or included the situation of prostitution and the related sexual exploitation of women.

“2. How important is 8 March for Cambodian women?

“Cambodia marks the International Women’s Day of 8 March as a national holiday. To women, 8 March is very important. 8 March is the day when many women assemble to express their opinions, address issues, and discuss problems, in order to seek proper solutions. Also, accomplishments by women, and different achievements of work are presented.

“8 March is not the only day concerned with women’s rights, though some opinions refer to it as if it were the only day that women can address exercising their rights. This idea is wrong. Women’s rights are human rights. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights states in Article 1, ‘All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights…’ Thus, women’s rights and human rights have to be implemented every time, throughout the life of human beings. Like women worldwide do it, Cambodian women use 8 March as the day on which women struggle with the government to define the agenda of work and to raise questions about different policies to support the equality between men and women.

“3. Previously, what did you organization, the Open Institute, do, related to 8 March? What programs will the Open Institute organize this year for this day?

“In 2008, we organized discussions through electronic messages like Internet blogs, joint mailing list – like gender@lists.open.org.kh, a discussion forum via electronic messages – about women’s problems and gender awareness. We compiled a report “Observations on Women’s News Published,” it is accessible at http://women.open.org.kh/km/monitoring [only in Khmer], and this was done in cooperation with the Committee on Elimination of Discrimination against Women, government institutions, and local non-government organizations to celebrate the International Women’s Day.

“In 2009, the organization defined the topic ‘Women Involved in Developing the Economy and in Social Affairs’ and will organize some activities:

  1. Publish articles related to the International Women’s Day: The Women’s Program will cover news about activities of institutions and of organizations that do women-related work.
  2. Editorial: An editorial will be published focusing on the above topic.
  3. Cooperate with the Committee on Elimination of Discrimination against Women, government institutions, and local non-government organizations to celebrate the International Women’s Day.
  4. Discussions via communication refer to the Women’s Web Portal [only in Khmer] from 20 February to 13 March 2009 about the topic ‘Women Involved in Developing the Economy and in Social Affairs’ through Internet blogs, online forums, and joint mailing list, as well the issuing certificates of appreciation for certain participants. For detailed information please go to: http://women.open.org.kh/files/8%20March/Announcement [only in Khmer].
  5. Opinion poll on the Women’s Web Portal: ‘Did Women really involve themselves in developing the economy and in social affairs?’
  6. Sending messages by phone: ‘Promote Women by Using the Web Portal about Women’ http://women.open.org.kh

“4. Besides 8 March, what programs does the Open Institute have to help to promote women’s rights in Cambodian society?

“We organize:

Women’s Forum Meetings: They are conducted with the aim to coordinate discussions about different challenges of women regarding gender issues. The meetings provide opportunities for women to gather, and they promote cooperation among women’s institutions, the government, and relevant institutions, to find solutions for women’s issues, so that women’s conditions improve.

Workshops: Through these workshops, the findings and comments from the women’s forums will be published, and addressed to government institutions, women’s networks and organizations, the media, and the public, in order to look for joint solutions which support and encourage gender equality in Cambodia.

Discussions about communication means on the Women’s Web Portal: to encourage discussions about gender issues in Cambodia through:

  1. a joint Mailing List: gender@lists.open.org.kh [Khmer and English]
  2. blog: http://women.open.org.kh/km/blog [Khmer and English]
  3. online forum: http://women.open.org.kh/km/forum [mostly Khmer]

“These discussions offer opportunities to gender activists, experts in law, rights, and researchers, the media, and individuals, to meet via electronic means and to step up cooperation, and expand the culture of sharing information between institution and institution, and institutions and individuals.

“5. There is one point in the women’s program of the Open Institute focusing on the strengthening of the technological capacity of women in communication, and in information technology, for women. How important is this point?

“At present, technology, communication, and information technology advance dramatically in Cambodia, and news are crucial in strengthening women’s competence. Technology, communication, and information technology can be used for searching, receiving, and publishing news. Most women in the Southeast Asian countries, including Cambodia, are not encouraged to use present technology, communication, and information technology, making them not a major source of news and of knowledge.

“Technology, communication, and information technology are used to empower women, such as the provision of training and the enhancement of women’s competence to the challenges of the labor market. Through technology, communication, and information technology, they can form networks between women and men from community to community, and from person to person, engaging in communication without discriminating borders or between different races. Women can share their knowledge, their work experiences, successes, and problems with men, to prove that women are also involved in development tasks and in social development, and to make men understand more about the achievements and efforts of women, about different requirements between men and women due to their different sex which is defined biologically, and about challenges for women. This sharing contributes to reduce gender stereotypes, and to reduce discrimination against women gradually, so as to reach gender equality in all sectors.

“6. Regarding women’s work, how does the Open Institute cooperate with the Ministry of Women’s Affairs and with civil society?

“Women and gender issues are international problems. Therefore, they need to be solved globally with the participation from all institutions and races. Likewise, the Open Institute has to cooperate also with other organizations and institutions to implement this task. Several organization have joined to build up women’s competence, encourage gender equality, bring together analysts and seek solutions for women’s issues, by cooperating with the Ministry of Women’s Affairs, and the Open Institute has participated as a member of the gender technical working team organized by the Ministry of Women’s Affairs, with the participation by representatives from all ministries, from local and international organizations, and from United Nations Development Fund for Women.

“As a permanent member of the UN Committee on Elimination of Discrimination against Women – Cambodia section, which is a network consisting of 70 organizations as members, the Open Institute plays an important role and fulfills important obligations, such as to publish news countrywide about the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women. In addition, we are also involved in contributing some points to the concluding comments of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women – Cambodia.

“7. In its strategic and operational plans, what did the Open Institute define as the basis to motivate Cambodian women to join in developing the nation?

“The encouragement of more women to join in developing the nation is a strategic plan of the organization, as stated in the aims of the organization: ‘To promote gender equality by ensuring that all program areas equally benefit women and men.’ Therefore, we have a program Women Empowerment for Social Change, by which we created successful cooperation between organizations working related to women and their rights, through the provision of information about rights, the provision of training about technology, and about communication and information technology. These things are to help build up capacity and skills for women, help women’s work become more efficient and more challenging in the labor market.

“In the meantime, we organize women’s forums which are held every two months, so that women from different institutions and with different skills meet each other to discuss issues and find out joint solutions for their issues. We organize also workshops to produce publications addressed to the public and to relevant institutions about the results of discussions during the forums, such as different findings and comments provided during the discussions, in order to look for different policies supporting the equality between men and women. When women earn support and have sufficient capacity, women will be confident and dedicate themselves more to the development of the economy and of the society.

“8. Based on your point of view, what are major challenges and obstacles against the promotion of women’s rights in Cambodian society?

“The major obstacle against the promotion of women’s rights is a general opinion in society toward women, and the context of a (Khmer) social structure with men as controllers, which values men more than women, and even though we have the Constitution and different laws protecting women’s rights, and the Rectangular Strategy of the Royal Government, which sets the strategic goal to encourage gender equality, there are many other obstacles, such as the weak implementation of laws.

Note:

The Rectangular Strategy of the Royal Government, a basic policy paper presented by the Prime Minster in 2004, refers to GENDER AND DEVELOPMENT under 2.5 Other Cross-Cutting Programs, subsection 6. GENDER AND DEVELOPMENT.

“Especially, Prime Minister Samdech Akkak Moha Senapadei Dekchor Hun Sen also called on all institutions of the ministries for gender mainstreaming in all policies and programs. Thus, we see that by law, Khmer women are protected and valued. But the practical implementation is not what the law states.

“In Cambodian social structures, men lead almost all sectors, including the family. Most men are breadwinners and are considered to be the head of the family. Therefore, all decisions are mostly made by men. Because of this culture and society, women are not encouraged to go to school or to continue their education to higher levels, and are seldom offered opportunities for training like men. This leads most women to have lower education than men, and it hinders women to hold high positions.

“Hence, at the workplace, it is seen that most work is organized and decided by men, and most men are in dominating positions; as for women, they do lower class work, which leads to the situation that up to 70% of the total labor force are women. Though Khmer women have been eligible to vote and to stand as candidates in elections since 1955, the number of women involved in politics and in leadership positions is still limited. Women hold only about 14% of seats resulting from elections; and only 7% of women lead any institutions of the ministries. This reflects the imbalance of power between men and women. Furthermore, for society to acknowledge women’s achievements, women have to do twice of the men’s work at the workplace or in society; women and women’s work are not valued, and women’s leadership is not trusted. This factor makes women reluctant, and to have less self-confidence.

“9. Are there solutions for those challenges or obstacles?

“We must have solution as a strategy and as a system, so that women can fully gain the benefits from laws and policies of the government, which contribute to change women’s conditions in Cambodia. To promote women’s rights, to encourage gender equality, and to encourage more participation by women in economy, politics, and society, the government – by cooperating with different partnership organizations and non-government organizations – must have, and strictly implement, the following policies:

  • Apply gender mainstreaming in all policies at national and sub-national levels
  • Strictly enforce different treaties and international covenants, for which Cambodia is also a signatory country, that are the basis to protect women’s rights
  • Provide opportunities for women to more regularly take part in discussions about drafts of different policies, about the division and management of resources, about projects in the national budget, and in different processes of decision making
  • Create systems for jobs and implement actual methods to encourage equal opportunities for men and women, and to encourage the provision of skills for women to work in enterprises by connecting different markets
  • Encourage insurance policies for safety at work, and establish a legal system which results in better salaries for women
    Encourage policies to fully empower women
  • Encourage girls to learn as much as possible and to study with the same high goals as boys. Doing so helps also to cut down migration, exploitation, and sexual slavery.”

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6593 on 4.3.2009, and #6594, on 5.3.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Thursday, 5 March 2009

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #1889, 5.3.2009

  • Samdech Dekchor: If the Cambodian People’s Party Loses the Elections, Thousands of Development Projects Might Be Halted
  • Owners of Micro-Finance Institutions Dismiss Sam Rainsy Party’s Parliamentarian [who had suggested to suspend or delay confiscating houses and land of farmers, while prices of agricultural products drop dramatically – they said that if they did, their institutions would not have money to repay foreign countries, and they claimed that 99% of citizens who had asked for loans can repay their debt]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.357, 5.3.2009

  • A Successor to Replace Mr. Yash Ghai [the former Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for Human Rights in Cambodia], a Former Challenger of Strong Man Hun Sen, Is Found [Professor Surya Prasad Subedi, Nepali, is assigned as the new Special Representative in Cambodia]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6594, 5.3.2009

  • Interview between Koh Santepheap and the Director of the Open Institute, Ms. Chim Manavy, Regarding the International Women’s Day 8 March
  • Four Political Parties [the Cambodian People’s Party, the Sam Rainsy Party, Funcinpec, and the Norodom Ranariddh Party] Register on the Election List [to join district and provincial/city elections planed to be held on 17 May 2009]
  • The Authorities Crack Down on Internet Shops [running online video games] Which Addict Students
  • Australian Embassy Provides 15,000 Australian Dollars to the Special Olympics in Cambodia

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.16, #3703, 5.3.2009

  • Mr. Sam Rainsy Leaves to Tell the Inter-Parliamentary Union that the Khmer National Assembly Does Not Obey the Law and the Constitution [since it has not restored his immunity although he had paid a fine to the National Election Committee that had already withdrawn the complaint against him]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4837, 5.3.2009

  • Prime Minister Initiates to Eliminate the National Congress from the Constitution
  • Note:
    The Constitution of the Kingdom of Cambodia established an annual event, which was never held.

    THE NATIONAL CONGRESS

    Article 147:

    The National Congress shall enable the people to be directly informed on various matters of national interests and to raise issues and requests for the State authority to solve.

    Khmer citizens of both sexes shall have the right to participate in the National Congress.

    Article 148:

    The National Congress shall meet once a year in early December at the convocation of the Prime Minister.
    It shall proceed under the chairmanship of the King.

    Article 149

    The National Congress adopts recommendations to the Senate, the National Assembly, and to the Executive branch for reflection.
    The organization and operation of the National Congress shall be determined by law.

  • Because a Factory Owner Has Not Released Salaries for Five Months, Workers Ask for Help from Samdech Dekchor [Hun Sen] and from Her Excellency [Bun Rany Hun Sen – Kandal]
  • Cambodian Prime Minister Asks ASEAN to Play an Important Role in Bilateral Disputes in the Region
  • Banks in Cambodia Have Total Worth of More Than US$4 Billion

Have a look at the last editorial – you can access it directly from the main page of the Mirror.

And please recommend us also to your colleagues and friends.

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Censorship: Thousands of Crude Porn Sites Accessible on Internet – One Khmer Artist Blocked – Sunday, 1.2.2009

Posted on 2 February 2009. Filed under: *Editorial*, Week 597 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 597

When the Cambodian government held a three day consultation in September 2001, the Prime Minister opened it with a speech on Public Awareness about Information Technology. Charting the future, he said:

“The government’s top priority is to use Information Technology – IT – to serve and to meet the day-to-day needs of the people. IT should become as an efficient means for the public to exercise their rights to get information related to the decisions made by the government and the conduct of government business in accordance with the principles of transparency and good governance…

“IT will help strengthen democracy, ensure transparency, promote good governance in government and community businesses. With regard to the economic and social aspect, IT will improve major public service delivery to the local people and allow them to monitor and receive regularly and timely all kinds of information.”

In February last year, the Prime Minister emphasized the importance of transparency again, more specifically in relation to economic development as a means of poverty reduction, in his keynote address 2008 Cambodia Outlook Conference: Mobilizing Cambodia’s Resources – Human, Natural, Financial – for Quality Development, Growth and Prosperity, when he said:

“A healthy private sector is the key to robust economic development and thus the government should ensure the legal framework for fair competition, transparency, accountability and productive relations with the public sector. The overall environment for enterprise will be strengthened through broadened good governance and human resources development. The public sector should also be strong in order to correct the market failures, essentially to reach the poor and disadvantaged.”

Recent days and weeks would have provided ample opportunity to demonstrate the promised open and transparent communication – using information technology, the telephone, and direct talk.

Unfortunately, in spite of repeated pledges to install official spokespersons in the different ministries and other government agencies, and even having trained 18 persons for this task and given them certificates, there is obviously a problem that the basic commitment to transparency – “for the public to exercise their rights to get information related to the decisions made by the government,” as the Prime Minister said – is disregarded.

Related to the Dey Krahom evictions, which continue to cause deep problems for the men, women, and children involved, we collected the following items from the Cambodia Daily in a single day – Friday, 30 January 2009:

  • “Shukaku representatives could not be reached for comment and CPP Senator Lao Meng Khin [the husband of the owner of the Shukaku company] turned off his phone when a reporter contacted him.”
  • At the office of the Boeng Kak Development committee, an employee declined to provide his name, but suggested, “I think you have to ask Phnom Penh Municipality.”
  • “Municipal Governor Kep Chuktema and his deputies Mann Chhoeun and Pa Socheatvong could not be reached for comment.”
  • After contacting the 7NG company, “a company representative said he would meet Thursday with the residents.” – However, when contacted Thursday, the meeting was canceled.
  • “Chhay Rithisen, director of the municipal land management department, could not be reached for comment. Deputy directors Sek Yorn and Sar Bamnang both directed questions… to Chhay Rithisen.”

Many people do not seem to care about the importance the Prime Minister has accorded to transparency and “to reach the poor and disadvantaged” when there are “market failures” which derail the ultimate goal of development.

Over the weekend there was another blow to transparency in Cambodia. It is widely acknowledged that, in addition to huge resources for knowledge, connectivity, and entertainment, the Internet provides access to pornography – according to experts, there are tens of thousands of pornographic websites. There is no technical Internet blocking of access to these sites in Cambodia, which, as Internet experts recommend that criminal violations of pornography abuse laws should be best handled through legal prosecution, not through arbitrary and ineffective blocking of Internet sites.

Now, however, though not blocking any real pornography sites, some Internet Service Providers in Cambodia have started to block access to the website of a Cambodian artist based in the USA:

When the web site of this Khmer artist became known through the press, he was strongly attacked, accused of destroying Khmer culture because he did not only paint pictures of Angkor Wat stone apsaras, but also of lifelike apsara dancers whose bodies were, like the stone carvings, not completely clothed.

He offers on his website professional hints in painting techniques, and he wrote also:

“I’m trying to build an online Khmer Arts community for novice artists, advance artists, graphic artists, tattoo artists, or anyone for that matter who is interested in Khmer Arts. We can share ideas, discuss about your designs, and network with other Khmer artists from across the United States and around the world.

“The meaning of life is an elusive concept that has been the subject of much philosophical, scientific and theological speculation. For thousands of years, men and women of every age, race, and culture have sought to understand the meaning of life. Throughout history, scientists and philosophers, theologians and artists, politicians and social activists, monks and sages, and men and women from all walks of life have discussed and debated many questions in the quest to discover the meaning of life.

“One of the central views in Buddhism is a non-dual worldview, in which subject and object are the same, and the sense of doer-ship is illusionary. On this account, the meaning of life is to become enlightened as to the nature and oneness of the universe. According to the scriptures, the Buddha taught that in life there exists Dukkha, which is in essence sorrow/suffering, that is caused by desire and it can be brought to cessation by following the Noble Eightfold Path.

“It is a practical guideline to ethical and mental development with the goal of freeing oneself from attachments and delusions; and it finally leads to understanding the truth about all things. From this, one can attain a higher level of existence and finally reach Nirvana and that will be the meaning of my life.

“I believe in constructive criticisms! But lately, I’ve received many unwanted complaints regarding that some of my works disgraced the Khmer culture. Judging from the complaints, I wonder how we as Khmer will be able to make it in the 21st century.”

A Secretary of State of the Ministry of Information announced the intention to “publish services through electronic systems under the control of a law which is being drafted.” This announcement causes great alarm – not only because history has shown that the introduction of censorship of art has often been the entry point to suppress other freedoms, but because the Cambodian Constitution guarantees freedom of expression and publication, and the state has to uphold impartiality and protect the rights and freedoms of citizens (Articles 41 and 109).

The wide intent of the draft of this legislation became clear when it was stated:

“All Internet Service Providers which ask for licenses from the Ministry of Post and Telecommunication must, in advance, also ask for a second license from the Ministry of Information if this law is adopted, because these companies allow Internet users to connect networks and to use data in different networks.”

Does this mean, for example, that the Ministry of Information might refuse to license the apsara pictures on the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, which all foreigners see when they apply there for a visa?

Official Visa Application Site

Who in the Ministry of Information will be the authority on expressions of art, or decide – to quote the same Secretary of State – if “pictures can evoke sexual feelings” and should be prohibited? Is the work of art of one person a greater assault on the cultural traditions and remnants of the country than the destruction of the historic Bassac Theater, and now the threatened destruction of the landmark Renakse Hotel, which is the former Ministry of Justice and part of the architectural environment of the Royal Palace?

In the early years of the Internet, when the present Minister of Information was a secretary of state at the same ministry, he wrote an e-mail in 1999 to Bill Herod, one of the Internet pioneers in Cambodia, which was published internationally in the UNDP supported Digital Review of Asia Pacific 2003/2004, when the South China Morning Post in Hongkong had written there would be Internet censorship in Cambodia:

“Dear Sir,

“I do not know where SCMP got this news (“Planned Net law ‘threat to democracy,’” May 31, 1999) , but I can assure you that I am the one who has been fighting and continues to fight for the freedom of Internet access and the free flow of information in general. Everyday I find in my e-mail all kinds of information including some mail insulting me.

“This is a fact of life. When we never attempt to control the import of books and magazines into Cambodia why would we want to block the Internet?…

“Please be assured that I am very supportive of this form of communication and I will spare no effort in defending it. I hope you can help communicate this assurance to all of your subscribers and, if you have any problem concerning this issue, please feel free to contact me.

“Your sincerely,

“Khieu Kanharith”

It is important to recognize that questions of “Cambodian culture” are raised regularly by many different kinds of news. For example, the almost weekly news about the brutal rape and murder of Cambodian children raises questions about how this destruction of human culture is being handled, and no efforts to block the Internet in Cambodia could ever prevent that.

Furthermore, the blocking of the Reahu site will be reported around the world and will attract much more attention than the site would ever have received without such action. That is what also had happened when the introduction of 3G mobile phones was delayed – for fear they could deliver pornography to those who can afford the high cost of this new 3G technology, while crude pornography continues to be cheaply available all over the country where CDs are being sold.

What a pity, that there will again be a flood of negative attention on Cambodia, just as it happened when the prohibition of the Global Witness book on deforestation problems Cambodia’s Family Trees stimulated worldwide attention, which it never could have gained without the prohibition.

Please recommend The Mirror also to your colleagues and friends.

The wide international interest The Mirror finds is reflected in the fact that during the last two days only, people in 45 countries read The Mirror.

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Tuesday, 15.7.2008: Teachers’ Livelihood in Cambodia

Posted on 16 July 2008. Filed under: Week 569 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 12, No. 5689

“Mr. Thong Boran, director of the Department of Personnel of the Ministry of Education, Youth, and Sport, said that since 2002, the government has said to create a new salary system for civil servants, by stating that the salary of civil servants must be increased 15% every year. In 2007, all civil servants received 15% more, and in July of the same year an additional 8% was added. In 2008, the government increased the salary of civil servants again – all of them get a 20% increase to their salaries. Separately, since 1 April 2008, the government has increased the salaries for teachers and for school administrators by an additional 10%, and the family allowance for wives and children of those teachers and civil servants was raised 100%.

“The government considers the Ministry of Education as a priority ministry among four ministries – the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries; the Ministry of Rural Development; and the Ministry of Health. The Ministry of Education, Youth, and Sport has taken teachers from some areas which have an over-supply of teachers to re-assign them to work in areas where there are not enough teachers, by giving them one-time financial encouragements. If they were re-assigned from one village to another, they get Riel 300,000 [approx. US$75]; for a change from one commune to another, they get Riel 500,000 [approx. US$125]; for a change from one district to another, they get Riel 800,000 [approx. US$200]; for a change from one low level land province to another, they get Riel 1,000,000 [approx. US$250]; and if they are re-assigned from one province to another remote province, they get Riel 1,500,000 [approx. US$375]. The Ministry has added another Riel 40,000 [approx. US$10] to the total salary of teachers in difficult areas (areas with difficulties with communication, with a low population density of less than 10 persons per square kilometer, frequently flooded areas, or areas which often suffer from natural calamities, and border regions).

“Teachers who teach in towns of remote provinces such as Ratanakiri, Mondolkiri, Stung Treng, Oddar Meanchey, Preah Vihear, Koh Kong, and Pailin received an additional Riel 50,000 [approx. US$12.50 per month, and in other remote areas besides those towns, Riel 60,000 [approx. US$15] was added monthly.

“Moreover, each teacher gets a monthly health care allowance of Riel 1,500 [approx. US$0.38]. For teachers who do their work well and are ranked first, they will get Riel 120,000 [approx. US$30], those who rank second will get Riel 100,000 [approx. US$25] and those who rank third will get Riel 80,000 [approx. US$20]. The Ministry also sponsors teachers who teach on Thursdays [primary schools in Cambodia do not have classes on Thursday] giving them Riel 20,000 [approx. US$5] when they teach on a Thursday. For primary school teachers who teach mixed classes – teachers that teach students from different grades in the same room and in the same session – if two levels are combined they get 60% of their salary added, and if three levels are combined, they get 80% of their salary added. Teachers who teach two turns [normally each teacher teaches only morning classes or afternoon classes, but some teachers teach two turns, teaching both morning and evening classes], they will receive an additional 100% of their base salary. In total, nowadays each teacher gets a salary between Riel 100,000 [approx. US$25] and Riel 560,000 [approx. US$140] per month.

“However, although the government has continually increased the salaries for teachers, the increase is not balanced with the dramatic increase of the price of goods in the markets.

“The prices of fuel and of food have increased everywhere in Cambodia as well as in some other countries of the world. These increases have strongly affected civil servants, especially those who live with salaries like teachers have them.

“A male teacher said that his salary can buy only 50 kg of rice. So he has to do also something else to support his family to have enough income each month. Therefore he does not have time to prepare his teaching or to do research to develop good lessons for his students.

“A female teacher asked the Ministry to provide the salary on time – even as the salary is small; but the payment should not being too late, extending the pay day from one month to another month or to another one-month-and-a-half, because teachers face difficulties since they do not have an income besides their salary.

“A male teacher, who has worked as a teacher for nearly 30 years, said that his salary could be spent for him alone for breakfast, but he must spend it carefully so that it can be enough for one whole month; and if he buys cigarettes or other food, this salary is not enough. Although he has a difficult life, he still teaches, because his conscious makes him feel responsible to teach students.

“A male teacher would like the government to help to take action so that the prices of good could decrease – it would not be necessary to increase the salaries, if the prices of goods could be decreased.

“A female teacher, who has worked as a teacher for five years, said that she lives alone, renting a house for Riel 40,000 per month [approx. US$10], and she gets a salary of only Riel 160,000 [approx. US$40] per month; it is difficult to cover expenses when she is sometimes ill.

“A male teacher said that his house is more than 20 km away from his school, and his motorbike consumes one liter of fuel per day for traveling to teach the students. Because now the price of fuel increased, his salary is not even enough to buy fuel. He uses his time in the afternoon to seek more income by teaching English at a private school, making it impossible for him to have time to think about new good methods to teach his students to be better qualified.

“A male teacher, who has been relocated from Prey Veng to teach at a school at a Phnom Penh suburb, said that he has to rent a house for Riel 80,000 Riel [approx. US$20] per month, and the price of water and of electricity in Phnom Penh is also expensive. His salary, even with the allowance of 10% from the Ministry, is spent in only half of a month on meals. He said that he really does not want to take money from the students, because most of his school’s students are poor like himself, but to have enough for his livelihood, he has to take money from the students. He asks the government to intervene to decrease the price of goods, so that his salary can match with the expenses for a longer period of days.” Extracted from Tumpeang Snong Russey Magazine by Koh Santepheap, Vol.41, #6393, 15.7.2008

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Tuesday, 15 July 2008


Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.7, #1693, 15.7.2008

  • [Thai Prime Minister] Mr. Samak Commits Himself to Change the Constitution in Order to Increase Political Stability [saying he intends to have the constitution changed, especially the second paragraph of Article 237, which says that a party can be dissolved if its leaders are found guilty of electoral fraud, which is like a “deadly poison for politicians”]


Karpear Cheat, Vol.1, #6, 15.7.2008

  • Young Generation of Businesspeople Are Highly Interested in Information Technology
  • Cooperation with Lutheran World Federation Cambodia Program Improves Livelihood of the Poor by Strengthening Community at Villages for Development
  • Members of the Military and of the Police with Four Golden Stripes on their Epaulets Increase to Eighteen, and some Ministers Also Hold Four Gold Stripes [Military leadership: 1. General Tea Banh, 2. General Ke Kim Yan, 3. General Pol Saroeun, 4. General Meas Sophea, 5. General Nhek Bun Chhay, 6. General Chay Saing Yun, 7. General Tea Chamrath, 8. General Om Yon, 9. General Moeng Samphan, 10. General Kun Kim, 11. General Neang Phat, and 12. General Nhim Vanda; Police leadership: 13. General Hok Lundy, 14. General Em Sam An, 15. General Khat Savoeun, 16. General Dul Koeun, 17. General Kieng Vang, and 18. General Sin Pensen]


Khmer Amatak, Vol.9, #607, 15.7.2008

  • [Siem Reap Governor] Su Phirin Is Disrespectful to Say that the Preah Vihear Temple, before It Was Listed as a World Heritages Site, Was in a Contested Area


Khmer Sthapana, Vol.1, #49, 15.7.2008

  • Cambodian National Research Organization [CNRO] Accused [Supreme Patriarch] Samdech Tep Vong of Connecting Buddhism with Politics [by allowing monks in Cambodia to vote for political parties]
  • Cambodian Center for Study and Development in Agriculture [CEDAC] Asked the Ministry of Agriculture to Find Methods to Control the Momeach Tnot [Brown Plant-Hopper? – please let us know if you know. – Editor]


Koh Santepheap, Vol.41, #6393, 15.7.2008

  • Teachers’ Livelihood in Cambodia
  • FBI Announced to be Prepared to Help Hunt for Murderers [of Mr. Khim Sambo, journalist of Moneaksekar Khmer, and of his son]; Twelve Cambodian Journalists Have Been Murdered So Far
  • Expert Committee in Cambodia Releases Information about Number of Rapes, Human Trafficking, and Sexually Motivated Vices During Two Trimesters


Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.15, #3512, 15.7.2008

  • More than 2,000 Workers of the W&D Factory Held a Strike Claiming the Factory’s Boss Does Not Care for Good Working Conditions
  • Four Khmer Citizens Got Poisoned in Pursat from Yuon [Vietnamese] Packed Noodles of the ‘Chicken Leg’ Brand


Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.16, #4641, 16.7.2008

    Thai Military Leader [Supreme Commander Boonsang Niampradit] Insisted that the Government Should Revoke its Supporting Statement for Cambodia [obtained without parliamentary decision and therefore violating the Thai constitution]
    Thailand Has Other Issues besides Preah Vihear: the Economy Declines [because of inflation and decreasing investment]
    American Military Suffers Big Tragic Loss in Afghanistan [nine soldiers died during an attack by insurgents near the Pakistan border]

Have a look at the last editorial – The struggle towards openness and access to information happens in many places – and it may help to mutually learn from other experiences.

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