By Ly Meng Huor
Radio France Internationale
Translated from Khmer by Soy
On Wednesday, Internet users in Cambodia could not access the KI-Media website anymore. The Internet Service Provider (ISP) claimed that the blocking of this website that is critical of the government is an order issued on 18 January by the Ministry of Interior (MoI). However, government officials denied, saying that the Cambodian government has no goal of shutting down or blocking Internet users from accessing KI-Media.
Employees for the EZECOM ISP indicated in the afternoon of 19 January that the MoI told it to block all websites hosted by blogspot.com. KI-Media is also hosted by blogspot, a free webhosting service.
The blocking of blogspot and KI-Media, in particular, received outcries from the public as being a prevention of the freedom of expression and the freedom to receive information. The public indicated that the government should shut down KI-Media alone, if this website is found to be doing something wrong.
Nevertheless, the minister of Information and the minister of Post and Telecommunication denied that the government has a goal of shutting down KI-Media, in spite of the fact that EZECOM and Metfone Internet users could not visit KI-Media or blogspot as of 19 Jan 2011.
General Khieu Sopheak, the spokesman for the ministry of Interior (MoI), declined to comment on the order to block KI-Media.
Khieu Kanharith, government spokesman and minister of Information, said briefly that the government has no plan to block KI-Media.
During a press conference on the results of the 10th ASEAN meeting of Telecommunication and Information ministers held in the afternoon of 19 Jan, So Khun, the minister of Post and Telecommunication, denied that the government shut down KI-Media. He said that the inability to access this website could be due to technical problem.
KI-Media criticized and insulted nonstop the government leaders. Recently, the pro-opposition website KI-Media attached the word traitors to the pictures of the government leaders in regards to the border issue between Cambodia and Vietnam.
The printing of an article from KI-Media on 19 Dec 2010 landed a 6-month jail sentencing on Seng Kunakar, an employee for the World Food Program (WFP).