Monday, February 21, 2011

Opposition sites blocked in Cambodia


Though many opposition sites are blocked in Cambodia, the government has dismissed rumours that it ordered internet service providers, or ISPs, to block access to those sites. But the truth may finally have come out.

Going online is still a relatively new experience in Cambodia, but one that is growing much more common, particularly in urban areas.

But for weeks now, users of EZECOM, one of the growing service providers, have complained that they are unable to access a number of sites, including one called KI-Media, a pro-opposition party website that is highly critical of the government.

Though EZECOM has denied blocking access to any websites or receiving any orders from the government to do so, an email was leaked this week from a senior official at the telecommunications ministry.

Leaked evidence

The email, which ran in the Phnom Penh Post newspaper on Thursday, puts paid to those denials, since it congratulates ten ISPs, including EZECOM, for blocking access to a list of websites, including KI-Media.

Human rights group LICADHO, which releases an annual report on the state of Cambodia’s media, says news of covert censorship is worrying. Mathieu Pellerin of LICADHO told Deutsche Welle, "what we’ve confirmed this week is basically one of the last unregulated spaces for people to express themselves on a variety of subjects, political or otherwise, has been officially now censored by the government, which is a huge unfortunate milestone in terms of freedom of expression in Cambodia and further shrinks the space that Cambodians have to express themselves."

But not all websites are blocked, so the question is, how significant is this?

To read more: http://www.dw-world.de/dw/article/0,,6441906,00.html

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