February 14, 2018

National Assembly to vote on lèse majesté, constitutional amendments

Chheang Vun, president of the National Assembly’s Legislation and Justice Committee, yesterday announced the controversial Lèse Majesté amendments would be voted on tomorrow. Hong Menea

Mech Dara and Leonie Kijewski | The Phnom Penh Post
Publication date 13 February 2018 | 09:41 ICT

The National Assembly is set to vote on controversial legal amendments on Wednesday, including a lèse majesté law, while the president of the body in charge of reviewing the changes said yesterday the government also has plans for a law to regulate social media.

After a meeting about the amendments to the Constitution and Criminal Code, Legislation and Justice Committee President Chheang Vun told reporters the committee had received the draft amendments and had sent a report to the upcoming plenary session for review.

“We need to put a heavy punishment in the law related to attacking and impacting, directly or indirectly, the king’s honour and power,” he said. A similar lèse majesté law is already in place in Thailand, where it has been used to punish political dissent.

The constitutional amendments include restrictions on freedom of association and political participation, and have attracted criticism from rights groups, especially since they were drafted behind closed doors.
Meanwhile, Vun yesterday unexpectedly turned to another potential law that would affect free speech.

“I would like to inform that in Cambodia, we will make a law about the use of social media in order to protect the nation and Cambodian people and our society,” he said.

“The one who comments and the owner of the account must be punished,” he continued, adding that other countries already had created such laws. If users were “attacking public figures illegally without evidence”, he said, the account owner could be considered at fault.

This would prevent people from using social media “to serve the colour revolution” – a catchall term used to describe an alleged foreign-backed opposition plot to overthrow the government.

Seemingly innocuous political speech has been increasingly policed on social media in recent months. Just last week, one man was arrested for posting videos critical of Prime Minister Hun Sen, and Sam Sokha – a woman who posted a video of herself throwing a sandal at a ruling party billboard – was extradited from Thailand and is facing two years in prison.

Council of Ministers spokesperson Phay Siphan yesterday said he didn’t know about plans for a new social media law and directed questions to Huy Vannak, of the Ministry of Interior.

Vannak said he was unaware of such a plan and had only heard of plans to draft a cyber law, which is ongoing. “We welcome any initiative to amend the press law and the draft cyber law,” he said. “It doesn’t mean to harm anyone, but . . . we should rather defend the land of the law than the land of anarchy.”

Sok Eysan, ruling Cambodian People’s Party spokesperson, said social media was under the purview of the ministries of Information and Telecommunications, and needed be watched. “Because the advanced technology, it gives [people] the opportunity to commit anarchic things in society that impact the nation and people’s interests,” he said.

“Therefore we have to look into it,” he said, adding “also other big countries around the world” had to fight publication of fake news, and inciting or hateful speech, which he said could be spread through messaging apps like Whatsapp and Facebook. “As we open widely, we also monitor them thoroughly.”


Hemondno Viata said...

Chhiang Vun face is one among Yuon nationality faces, it's as same as Thong Sarath parents especially his mother. Cambodian nationality ever ever have
this form of face, excepted some of the Khmer Children after 1979 up-to nowadays under CPP Govt's rule.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

“We need to put a heavy punishment in the law related to attacking and impacting, directly or indirectly, the king’s honour and power,” he said(AH Chien Vun). A similar lèse majesté law is already in place in Thailand, where it has been used to punish political dissent.


Tell me what "honour and power" do Cambodian King has? I am surprised that Cambodian King even has the power? Cambodian King has the power to do what? hah hah! The fact is the Cambodian King is just a tool that is used by communist China or the Vietcong government to legitimate their naked aggression on Cambodian sovereignty! The dictator can force the Cambodian King to sign his life and the Cambodian King will do it and do it without a protest!

I just wish that Cambodian people can use the Cambodian King the same way communist China and the Vietcong government used Cambodian King to validate their aggression over Cambodian people! As long as the Cambodian King exist and the honour, the power, and the glory belong to communist China and the Vietcong government! Now you know why the Cambodian King always remains quiet and silence on many important issues of Cambodian people!

Justice said...

Unlike Thai king, Cambodian king is useless. In fact, he is like father like son, he is also a criminal, when he allowed communists and Hun Sen to use him in anyway he likes. How he agreed to signed away Koh Tral, and to accept a one ruling party CPP after losing election in 2013. There were like 99.9% wanting change after 30 years of ruling to ruin her, but yet, this dumb king can do nothing. Which mean he is as bad as Hun Sen, and that he too is a criminal.

Chiang Vun can create law in anyway he likes, but no body care, because the truth will always be the truth. Chiang Vun is just another communists spy, helping to rule to ruin her, that’s all.