The Situation of Women in Cambodia Is Improving – Monday, 29.3.2010

Posted on 30 March 2010. Filed under: Week 658 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 658

“Phnom Penh: The US Ambassador to Cambodia said that the situation of women in Cambodia is improving.

“The US Ambassador to Cambodia, Mrs. Carol Rodley, said so at the US Embassy during an event at the occasion of the International Women of Courage Award on 26 March 2010, ‘The situation of women in Cambodia is improving and there is hope that the future will be good for women.’

Note:

“Washington, 10 March 2010. First lady Michelle Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton honored women human rights activists from around the world with this year’s Women of Courage awards at a special ceremony 10 March 2010 at the State Department

“The awardees this year are Shukria Asil of Afghanistan, Colonel Shafiqa Quraishi of Afghanistan, Androula Henriques of Cyprus, Sonia Pierre of the Dominican Republic, Shadi Sadr of Iran, Ann Njogu of Kenya, Dr. Lee Ae-Ran of South Korea, Jansila Majeed of Sri Lanka, Sister Marie Claude Naddaf of Syria and Jestina Mukoko of Zimbabwe.”

Ambassador Rodley has been the recipient of the Department’s Senior Performance Award, the State Department’s Human Rights and Democracy Award, the American Foreign Service Association’s Christian Herter Award for creative dissent, the James Clement Dunn Award for leadership, the Director of Central Intelligence Exceptional Humint Collector Award and an Intelligence Community Seal Medallion. Her foreign languages are Khmer, German, Spanish, Urdu, and Hindi.”

“Regarding the Prime Minister’s order to crack down on some entertainment night clubs, in an attempt to reduce rape and human trafficking, she said, ‘Recently, Cambodia has strengthened law enforcement against human trafficking, against drug smuggling, and against other places prone to crimes in Phnom Penh.’ She added that according to recent law enforcements activities, human trafficking has been found at places suspected to be brothels. When the authorities took legal action, victimized women who were sex workers were, in general, not arrested. In many cases, all victims were sent to rehabilitation centers.

“Ms. Carol Rodley stressed, ‘The important thing is to educate women, so they can change themselves, so that they can get proper jobs.’

“Relating to this case, the Minister of Women’s Affairs, Ms. Ing Kantha Phavi, said, ‘The situation of women in Cambodia in health, in their economic possibilities, and in the legal sector has improved.’ She added that the government has created many laws to protect women and their families.

“She went on to say that the Ministry of Women’s Affairs fully supports the policy of Prime Minister Samdech Hun Sen, who had ordered the authorities in all provinces and in the capital city to shut down places operating illegal activities, as this is a problem that affects our Cambodian youth. Violence in society results from ethically problematic and unwelcome activities which happened and have a bad impact on society.

“Ms. Ing Kantha Phavi continued to say that the government had created a National Committee Against Trafficking in Women and Children. This committee focuses on four major fields in order to assist victims who suffer from trafficking and from violence against women: 1. Interception, 2. Conviction, 3. Protection, and 4. Rehabilitation and Integration.

“Also, the government has cooperated with development partners and civil society organizations and has achieved good results. The number of arrested perpetrators increased because of timely and effective interventions from police, which led to more convictions of perpetrators by the courts. The Ministries of Women’s Affairs, of Education, of Information, of Culture and other ministries have joined to publish information about human trafficking, so that citizens at the community level can better submit crime reports in time.” Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #446, 29.3.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Monday, 29 March 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #446, 29.3.2010

  • The Situation of Women in Cambodia Is Improving
  • The First Time a Cambodian Woman Had Been Nominated for the Women of Courage Award by the US Embassy [Ms. Chen Reaksmey, an advisor on information about AIDS, health, and drugs of the Kosang [“to build up”] Organization, who had been addicting to drugs for eight years, was nominated for her hard work to reduce the spread of HIV, drugs, and human trafficking in Cambodia]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2213, 28-29.3.2010

  • The Meanchey District Authorities Removed Light Black Plastic Foils from the Windows of 177 Cars within Two Hours [in response to a reminder by the Prime Minister – Phnom Penh]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #638, 28-29.3.2010

  • Based on [Prime Minister] Hun Sen’s Speech: Are Oknhas Who Own and Operate Wood Storehouses in Siem Reap Considered as Betraying the Nation?

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6920, 29.3.2010

  • A One-Star General Got Angry with the Driver of Remorque-Moto Loaded with Ice, as the Driver Did Not Turn on the Turning Light, and He Shot and Injured the Driver with One Bullet [the general and his bodyguard were arrested – Kompong Speu]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3844, 29.3.2010

  • It Is Clearly Criticized that Political Influence Makes the National Assembly of Cambodia Weak and Lose its Independence [according to a report for 2009 and 2010 of the Cambodia Development Resource Institute – Cambodia’s Leading Independent Development Policy Research Institute – presented to the public last week: parliamentarians did not have the possibility to implement their roles independently and effectively, as they have to face the power of the government and of their party, though they know their actual roles well]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #140, 29.3.2010

  • Thousands of Cubic Meters of Wood Were Seized in the Campaign to Intercept Forestry Crimes [the opposition party welcomes this interception going on for over a week, but questions why the government does not take legal action against officials who were involved in those crimes – and just confiscates their wood]
  • The Pheapimex Company of [Ms. Cheung Sopheap and her husband, Senator Lao Meng Khin] Received the Right to Own Two Places and Buildings [the Renakse Hotel in front of the Royal Palace, and now in addition the adjacent plot with the building of the National Committee for Organizing National and International Festivals – Phnom Penh]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5162, 28-29.3.2010

  • The Thai Red Shirt Groups [supporters of ousted and fugitive prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra] Forced the Military to Return to Their Barracks and Some Burned Copies of the Constitution [the situation is getting worse]
  • The Number of People Having Symptoms which Look Like Cholera in Kratie Increased to 134; Six People Died [according to officials of the Health Department of Kratie]

Sereypheap Thmey, Vol.18, #1889, 29.3.2010

  • Why Do the Authorities Not Arrest the Owner of the Tiger Beer Company like They Arrested Yeay Mab for Illegal Wood Trading?

Have a look at the last editorial – you can access it directly from the main page of the Mirror.
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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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2008: 73 Factories Closed and 64 Opened – 20,000 Workers Were Dismissed and 10,000 Found New Work – Saturday, 10.1.2009

Posted on 11 January 2009. Filed under: Week 594 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 594

“In Cambodia 73 factories were closed in 2008, making nearly 25,000 workers unemployed. But 64 new factories opened, absorbing 10,000 new workers. The export of garments to international markets declined by 2%, which has created general concern. Difficulties will last 3 to 6 months further, but officials said that there will be no serious effects on the garment sector.

“The president of the Garment Manufacturers Association of Cambodia [GMAC – the web link has, under “Members” a detailed database with information about all GMAC members], Mr. Van Sou Ieng, said in a press conference in the evening of 7 January 2008 at the Hotel Le Royal, that more than 60 garment factories closed in 2008, causing around 25,000 workers to loose their employment. The export of garments to international markets dropped by 2%, while before, he expected that it would drop by between 5% and 7%. Therefore, the global financial crisis affected this sector very little. He added that Cambodia might face difficulties from 3 to 6 months, and in 2010, we can hope again. In every of the previous years, this sector grew by 15% to 20%.

“A secretary of state of the Ministry of Labor and Vocation Training, Mr. Oum Mean, reported to Kampuchea Thmey on 9 January 2009 that 73 factories closed and 24,397 workers had lost their work. However, in the same year, 64 new factories had opened, absorbing 13,000 workers by now. The number of workers might further increase, because newly opened companies are in the suburbs. Thus, recently unemployed workers will continue to work at new factories, and most of them have skills because of several years of experience. Some workers go to work for factories in special zones located near their home villages or towns, like in Svay Rieng and in other areas.

“There are different number given, because some of the closed factories were not among the members of the GMAC.

“Mr. Oum Mean went on to say that more than 20,000 workers will find jobs in new factories. While the world faces a financial crisis which affects big countries, such as the Untied State of America and Europe, Cambodia is also affected, because those big countries are garment importing countries from Cambodia. While citizens of those countries meet difficulties, they will cut down their expenses, and this affects the buying orders, ‘but we are not strongly affected, because the Cambodian economy depends on agriculture as the basis – even though before, the prices of fuel had increased and the prices of goods followed the market prices and general needs.’

“Coming from the ministry in charge of observing working condition, Mr. Oum Mean said, as the world faces a financial crisis causing common effects, that Cambodia, which exports garments to international markets, is also concerned, including the Royal Government, workers, and employers. ‘We have to join efforts and be patient, so that our factories remain stable and develop, because many countries recognize that the working conditions in Cambodia are acceptable according to international standards. When we export our goods with the labeled “Made in Cambodia,” both Europe and the United States of America always agree to buy them, since they know that these goods have quality, and our workers get enough benefits. We have to continue maintaining this reputation well.’

“He did not prohibit to have protests or demands by workers, but before doing something, they must be wise to avoid to act inappropriately affecting the fate of all, because when factories close, also employers loose, though they are owners, since the factory is a rice pot for all.

“Regarding the above problems, the president of the Free Trade Union of Workers of the Kingdom of Cambodia, Mr. Chea Mony, mentioned some numbers in the morning of 9 January 2009, that in 2008, there were 27,000 workers who lost their work, and 26 factories closed.

“However, in 2008, all together 37 factories closed, but it was not because they were bankrupt – but it was because they relocate their factories to new locations in the suburbs, and they just changed their factory names. Another reason was that some factories lost their money in speculation. Also, because of the global financial crisis, some factories that were affected were run by Korean owners, such as the Woosu CNS Factory, the Chantechay Factory [phonetic] which suspended their work, also the Cambohenshare Factory [phonetic – ‘Cambo Hansae’?] suspended its work, and also the Tay Factory [phonetic]. Some factories suspend their work for 2 or 3 months; so workers will not wait and go to work at other factories.

“Mr. Chea Mony added that while workers face unemployment, ‘we will help them according to the law. When factories close, they have to settle final payments for their workers according to the law. … The government is also responsible to solve problems of unemployment of workers. Some workers turn to find jobs in Thailand, but we help workers, according to the law, in order to help them to stay in Cambodia.’

“Mr. Van Sou Ieng said after the end of the 26th council plenary session of the ASEAN Federation of Textile Industries on 7 January 2009, that buyer orders will be finished by February and March 2009, and there is no buying order for May and June 2009. Buyers offer only US$3 for 1 shirt while before, they offered US$4. Big companies agreed to loose US$2 or US$3, but from May to June buyers must offer US$4 again. As for small factories, they might close, because they cannot stand the loss.

“Mr. Chea Mony agreed with Mr. Van Sou Ieng, who said that big companies are less affected while small factories are more seriously affected, because they produce their garments for big factories. But he did not agreed with what Mr. Van Sou Ieng said, that the buyers from international markets are lowering their price offers; this would be impossible, because each buying contract contains clear agreements. Mr. Chea Mony asked Prime Minister Hun Sen to kindly take action with officials of relevant ministries regarding corruption which affects the garment sector. He asked also the head of the Royal Government to reduce the prices of goods at the markets, which affect the living standard of workers who earn small salaries.

“The president of the Cambodia Workers Labor Federation of Trade Union Mr. Vong Sovann, expressed his concern in the morning of 9 January, that some factories were closed for good, and buying orders dropped in 2008. Bur only small factories having 200 or 300 workers were closed. Some factories closed in the city but opened in the suburbs, and some new factories do not have enough workers.

“Mr. Vong Sovann added that his union will provide more broad educational information about the economy for workers, so that they understand the present economic situation, and what causes demonstrations and strikes. ‘We will try to explain to workers to be patient and to solve problems through negotiations. As a result, in late 2008, demonstrations and strikes declined, which showed that workers became more knowledgeable.’

“The president of the Cambodia Labor Union Federation, Mr. Som Oun, said in the morning of 9 January 2009 that 64 new factories had opened and 73 factories had closed, including factories sub-contracted by bigger factories, and some of the factories do handicraft work. There were only around 20 factories [of those closed?] exporting garments by themselves. The number from GMAC and the numbers from the Ministry of Labor and Vocational Training are not in line with each other, and GMAC did not give a number of new factories. The number of factories closed was comparable to 2007. Workers loosing their employment go to work for other factories; therefore, the number of unemployed workers was not so high. Some unemployed workers of some factories returned to their homes to help harvest paddy rice.

“Mr. Som Oun said that some factories do not have enough workers. Obviously, a shoe factory in Kandal’s Ang Snuol district asked him to help recruit up to 2,000 workers, because this factory added another big building, and now the workers have to eat their meals in the factory. Therefore, he did not worry that workers are unemployed, ‘We still have buying orders from the United States of America and from Europe, because, according to the International Labor Organization, Cambodia is the country in the region which best respects working conditions. Buyers from the United States of America wait until the new president takes his position in the middle of this month, then they will continue buying.’” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4791, 10.1.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Saturday, 10 January 2009

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #105, 9-13.1.2009

  • Aid for the Neak Loeang Bridge and Aid for the Khmer Rouge Tribunal Are the Major Agenda Items for the Visit by the Japanese Minister of Foreign Affairs
  • Three [Vireakchey] National Park Rangers Are Missing in the Jungle in Ratanakiri and Are Not Yet Found [they are missing since 28 December 2008 when they went on a mission against illegal logging]
  • The Ministry of Planning Starts to Identify Poor Families [to ease the provision of services and aid for poor families – Note: The articled does not give any information how this enormous task, similar to a census, is to be implemented]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #1843, 10.1.2009

  • Khmer Kampuchea Krom People [in Cambodia and in Vietnam] Plan to Hold Demonstrations to Demand Rights, although They Do Not Have Permissions [by the authorities]
  • The United Nations Said that 257 Palestinian Children Died in the War in Gaza

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #323, 10.1.2009

  • [The member of the Constitutional Council] Son Soubert: The Renakse Hotel Is a Monument of the Architecture during the French Colonial Time That Should Be Kept

Khmer Sthapana, Vol.2, #179, 10.1.2009

  • The Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia Expressed Regret over the Corruption Complaint Filed by Co-Defense Lawyers of Nuon Chea at the Municipal Court [Note: Actually, the statement was not released in the name of the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia, but in the name of the national judges at the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6548, 10-11.1.2009

    Police Confiscated More Than 20,000 Drug Tablets Imported from Laos [and arrested a man – Stung Treng]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.16, #3662, 10-11.1.2009

  • [Former prime minister of the State of Cambodia and now the vice-president of the Human Rights Party] Pen Sovann Accused Hun Sen of Violating the Right of Parliamentarians to Distribute Donations to Troops at the Preah Vihear Temple
  • Forest Clearings [to create agricultural] Land in Ratanakiri Spreads More Seriously [according to a forest administration official in Ratanakiri]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4791, 10.1.2009

  • 2008: 73 Factories Closed and 64 Opened – 20,000 Workers Were Dismissed and 10,000 Found New Work
  • The Phnom Penh Municipal Court Accepted Complaint of Nuon Chea’s Foreign Co-Defense Lawyers
  • Cambodia Assigned to the Position of the Next Chairperson of the ASEAN Federation of Textile Industries [meeting held at the Hotel Le Royal on 7 January 2009]!

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

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The Ministry of Information Has the Intention to Regulate Publications on the Internet – Thursday, 8.1.2009

Posted on 9 January 2009. Filed under: Week 594 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 594

“Since the Internet arrived in Cambodia in 1997 (when Cambodia officially had 24h Internet network for the first time), communication and publishing through this means became more popular in the Kingdom of Cambodia. In the meantime, the publishing through radio and cable TV and through satellite increased also. More than one decade of progress makes the Ministry of Information concerned about eventual effects of these new technologies on Khmer society. Therefore the Ministry of Information has the intention to put ‘publishing services through electronic systems’ under the control of a law which is being drafted. The Ministry of Information said that electronic news (such as newspapers) will not be affected by this new law, because the major intention of this law is to control the publishing of audio-visual data, of games, and of entertainment programs and advertisements through the Internet, to ensure moral respect.

“A Secretary of State of the Ministry of Information in charge of drafting this law, Mr. Nov Sovathero, explained that because of the advances of new technologies, the Ministry of Information found that its responsibility has increased remarkably during these years. In addition to the control of the old audio-visual field which consisted of recording tapes – the burden of the Ministry of Information has become bigger with the control of 25 radio channels and 7 television channels broadcasting in Phnom Penh and in the provinces – leading now also to the control of the publishing through satellites and through the Internet. There will be 12 chapters and 67 articles in that draft law.

“Mr. Nov Sovathero said that radio and television influences listeners and watchers. Therefore, this law intends to control all publishing through electronic systems as well as the publication of performances for public viewing.

“This law will therefore also relate to audio-visual publishing through the Internet and through mobile phones. Over the course of the years, mobile phones are being used in general and at present, users can listen to radio, watch television, and send voice and picture messages through mobile phones.

“Though the responsibility of the Ministry of Information is now bigger, he said that the Ministry of Information does not have different intentions, besides protecting the respect of tradition and morality. He referred to an example that if we know that some Internet games have a bad impact on children, youth, or the Khmer society as a whole, the Ministry of Information will provide warnings about publishing licenses or revoke licenses by cooperating with relevant authorities.

“Also, we have to check the quality of advertisements so that there is no advertisement published with wrong information about the quality of the product advertised. This draft law will provide a legal framework both for content censors of electronic audio-visual documents and for Internet Service Providers who have an important responsibility in the technical field.

“Therefore, 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.

“Mr. Nov Sovathero referred to another example that pictures were published by individual Internet users showing Apsaras with naked breasts with sexual postures.

“For him, such pictures can evoke sexual feelings of viewers.

“Thus, he believed that this law can control the publishing of such pictures. He mentioned another example, ‘If a website publishes the beautiful face of a Khmer actress by cutting her face out of another picture and put it onto the naked body of another woman, it is not clear at present which ministry will be responsible for it? The Ministry of Information, or the Ministry of Interior? According to this new draft law, the Ministry of Information is the first to be responsible for it, because it will control all publishing of audio-visual material.’” Khmer Aphivoath Sethakech, Vol.7, #318, 7.1.2008

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Thursday, 8 January 2009

Areyathor, Vol.15, #1375, 7-8.1.2009

  • Samdech Dekchor: Position of Samdech Krom Preah [Norodom Ranariddh as chief advisors of the King] Is a Position Only to Receive a Salary

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #104, 7-8.1.2009

  • The Prime Minister Warns about the Selling and the Exchange of [State] Kindergartens / Preschools
  • More Than 1,500 People Died from Traffic Accidents in 2008 [5,049 were seriously injured]
  • Siamese [Thai] Authorities Closed 2,300 Websites Defaming the King [Note: Other media and civil society in Thailand request clearer definitions what a ‘defamation of the king’ really is, and say that a broad blocking of sites deprives the people from the access to information which is guaranteed by law]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #1840-#1841,7- 8.1.2009

  • The Phnom Penh Municipal Court Cancels the Lease Contract for the Renakse Hotel of Ms. Kem Chantha and Gives the Hotel to the Municipality [before the Minister of Religions and Cults, Mr. Min Khin, had signed a contract to lease this hotel to Ms. Kem Chantha for 48 years – Phnom Penh]
  • Two Girls [11 and 14 years old] Were Raped and then Hanged [on a tree] at a Mountaintop [perpetrators are not yet identified – Pursat]
  • CR-V [car] Driving from a Wedding Party Hit Cars and Motorcycles at Five Different Places, Killing 3 and Injuring 8 People [after hitting one car he tried to escape but caused more accidents]
  • German Billionaire [Adolf Merckle, 74] Committed Suicide because of [being affected by] the Global Financial Crisis

Khmer Aphivoath Sethakech, Vol.7, #318, 7.1.2008

  • The Ministry of Information Has the Intention to Regulate Publications on the Internet

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #320, 7.1.2009

  • The Police Waits for the Green Light from the Court to Reinvestigate the Murder of [the president of the Cambodian Free Trade Union of Workers] Chea Vichea [according to the spokesperson of the Ministry of Interior, Mr. Khieu Sopheak]

Khmer Sthapana, Vol.2, #177, 7.1.2009

  • Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen Asks All Fuel Companies to Cooperate to Further Reduce the Fuel Prices
  • Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen: Those Who Do Not Accept the Truth [of the 7 January 1979 victory day over the Khmer Rouge] Are Not People, but Animals [some people oppose to celebrate 7 January as it is the day that Vietnam invaded Cambodia and toppled the Khmer Rouge – see the National Holiday 7 January 2009 Mirror page]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6545-#6546, 7-8.1.2009

  • Report about Victims and Traffic Accidents Shows that from July to August 2008 [countrywide], Almost 100% of Victims Had Head Injuries

 
Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.16, #3660, 8.1.2009

  • The Number of Foreign Tourists Is Less Than Expected due to the Global Economic Crisis [according the Ministry of Tourism, the number of foreign tourists in 2008 was more than 2,100,000, and it only increased by 6% compared to the number in 2007]

Rasmei Angkor, Vol.16, #1400, 8.1.2009

  • Samdech Hun Sen: I Looked along the Roads, About 50% [of the motorcycle drivers] Wore Helmets

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4788-#4789, 7-8.1.2009

  • The Prime Minister Announced that from January 2009, the Salaries of Civil Servants Will Be Increased by 20% and the Salaries of the Police and of the Military Will Be Increased More
  • The Cambodian People’s Party Celebrated the 30th Victory Anniversary of 7 January 1979 with a Huge Meeting [with around 50,000 people participating]
  • The Thai Minister of Foreign Affairs Will Come to Cambodia to Discuss the Border Disputes in Late January
  • Japan Will Provide More Aid to Cambodia During the Visit of the Japanese Minister of Foreign Affairs [Mr. Nakasone Hirofumi – 中曽根弘文] to Cambodia [from 10 to 11 January 2009]
  • The US Government Provided Cambodia More Than US$60 Million in 2008
  • A Girl Received Electricity Shocks and Was Put into a Coffin to Let Ants Bite Her, in Order to Force Her to Have Sex [this experience of a now 24-year-old Vietnamese woman in Cambodia was published on 1 January 2009 in The New York Times]

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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Saturday, 20.9.2008: Keat Chhon: Fuel Prices Will Decrease to Riel 4,900 Early This Week

Posted on 21 September 2008. Filed under: Week 578 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 12, No. 578

“Phnom Penh: Keat Chhon, Senior Minister and Minister of Economy and Finance, said that from 22 September 2008, fuel sold at different fuel stations in the Kingdom of Cambodia will cost between Riel 4,900 [approx. US$1.20] and Riel 5,000 [approx. US$1.22] per liter.

“Mr. Keat Chhon said so, after a meeting with fuel companies in Cambodia, following Samdech Hun Sen’s order to decrease the price of fuel, after seeing that the price of crude oil on the world market dropped around 25%, but in Cambodia, there is only an approximate 10% decrease, which is not balanced yet.

“Regarding the improper decrease of the price of fuel, compared with the international market price, Mr. Keat Chhon explained that normally, when the price of fuel on the world market rose by 80%, fuel stations in Cambodia increased the price by 40% only. He continued to explain that the Royal Government of Cambodia, led by Samdech Samdech Akkak Moha Senapadei Dekchor Hun Sen, had decided to provide subsidies as a challenge to the rising price of fuel.

“According to Mr. Keat Chhon, during a period of 9 months in 2008, the Royal Government has spent approximately US$200 million quietly in order to overcome the fuel price rise. Related to the efforts of the Royal Government in decreasing the price of fuel, Mr. Po Samnang, the director of the National Culture and Social Morality Center, who had tried to meet the Minister of Economy and Finance, said that he had sent a letter to the cabinet of Mr. Keat Chhon, asking him to encourage a decrease of the fuel price [from around Riel 5,000] to the range of Riel 4,100 [approx. US$1.00] or Riel 4,300 [approx. US$1.05] per liter in order to promote the living standards of the poor and of civil servants, who earn small salaries.

“However, Mr. Po Samnang’s effort was mocked by officials in the Ministry of Economy and Finance, saying, ‘You just drive an old car, why do you come to protest?’

“It should be noted that according to a source from the cabinet of the Minister of Economy and Finance, around 2 million liters of fuel are consumed per day. Therefore, if the Royal Government had decreased the price by Riel 100 [approx. US$0.02] per liter, the state will help consumers to save Riel 100 million [approx. US$24,500]. Nevertheless, what is interesting is that while the Minister of Economy and Finance had announced that the price of fuel will stay increased at around Riel 5,000 per liter, crude oil at the international market decreased from US$147 to US$91 per barrel on 15 September 2008 and rose again to US$97 on 19 September 2008.” Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.7, #1751, 20.9.2008

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Saturday, 20 September 2008


Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.7, #1751, 20.9.2008

  • Keat Chhon: Fuel Prices Will Decrease to Riel 4,900 Early This Week
  • Talk between Hun Sen and [Thai new prime minister] Somchai by Phone Has Good Results [both promised to solve the border disputes soonest – 18 September 2008]
  • [Thai Prime Minister] Somchai Sends an Envoy to Meet with Mr. Thaksin in London to Ask for Ideas [for the creation of the new Thai ministers’ lists – according to the Bangkok Post]


Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.2, #248, 20.9.2008

  • The Threat [by Prime Minister Hun Sen] to Sue the President of the Opposition [Sam Rainsy] Party Is a Shut-Up Policy; Lao Mong Hay [Asian Human Rights Commission in Hong Kong]: Suing the Opposition Party President Will Bring Further Turmoil
  • [Secretary of State of the Ministry of Religions and Cults] Min Khin Colludes to Cheat the Prime Minister by Selling the Renakse Hotel [to a daughter of Ms. Chheung Sopheap, the director of Shukaku Inc., filling in the Boeng Kak Lake, without a publicly available, independent environment impact assessment]


Khmer Sthapana, Vol.1, #103, 20.9.2008

  • Civil Society Organizations [the Khmer Culture Foundation and the Cambodian Defenders Projects] Welcome the Decision by the Head of the Government to Send a Complaint against Thailand to the United Nations [19 September 2008]


Koh Santepheap, Vol.41, #6455, 20-21.9.2008

  • Two Girls Were Abducted and Brought into the Jungle – a [12-year-old] Girl Was Raped, and Another Was Kept as a Hostage to Demand Riel 4 Million [approx. US$1,000 – 18 September 2008 – Baray, Kompong Thom]


Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.15, #3570, 20-21.9.2008

  • Khmer and Siam [Thai] Leaders Plan to Negotiate the Border Disputes during a [UN] Meeting in New York in Late September [according to foreign news agencies]
  • The Asian Development Bank Assessed that the Cambodian Economic Growth in 2008 Will Decline to 6.5% [because of the bankruptcy of important financial institutions in the US and because of the decline of the garment industries in Cambodia, a result of strong competition from other countries]


Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.16, #4699, 20.9.2008

  • [Human Rights Party President] Kem Sokha’s Younger Brother [Kem Sokhon, deputy secretary general of the Human Rights Party], Joined the Cambodian People’s Party [18 September 2008]
  • The Thai Prime Minister Works at the [old Don Muang] Airport [since the government building is occupied by demonstrators – 18 September 2008]
  • The National Election Committee Orders Sam Rainsy to Pay 10 Million Fine for Insulting [three top] Leaders of the Cambodian People’s Party [during the election campaign]
  • Cambodia Has Less People contracting Tuberculosis, while there Is Growing Resistance to Medicines Compared to Bordering Countries
  • Cambodia and Vietnam Encouraged to Exchange Commercial Products at a Volume of Approximately US$2,300 in 2010

Click here to have a look at the last editorial – how the whole Khmer press withholds the final, decisive document from the public, before the Preah Vihear Temple was listed as a World Heritag Site.

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