Friday, February 18, 2011

Companies Asked ‘To Curb’ Critical Websites [KI-Media]

Internet CENSOR Sieng Sithy
GOOFING OFF overseas

Cambodians surf the Internet at a coffee shop in Phnom Penh. (Photo: AFP)
Pich Samnang, VOA Khmer
Phnom Penh Thursday, 17 February 2011
“Although it contains some anti-government opinions, the site is a source of a great deal of Cambodia-related information.”
Internet service providers have received an e-mail from an official at the Ministry of Post and Telecommunications reminding them to “take action” against several anti-government websites.

The e-mail, a copy of which was obtained by VOA Khmer on Thursday, is a follow-up to a Feb. 10 meeting between the ministry and service provider representatives.

According to meeting minutes posted on the ministry website, Telecom Minister So Khun told the representatives that while the government does not have a policy requiring that websites be blocked, he “asked all operators to help curb some websites affecting Khmer morality and tradition and the government through the Internet.”

The e-mail, which was electronically signed by Sieng Sithy, deputy director of the ministry’s policy regulation, addresses service providers WiCam, Telesurf and Hello.

We found that you are not yet taken an action, so please kindly take immediate action,” he wrote, referencing the Feb. 10 meeting. “Here below [are the] websites.

The e-mail then lists eight separate websites, belonging to the anti-government group KI Media, its mirror sites, and other websites traditionally critical of the current government. The e-mail also contains an attached document that lists the ISP providers in the country that have “blocked” or “unblocked” the requested sites.

“Again and again [sic], In case of not well cooperation is your own responsibility,” Sieng Sithy wrote.

Sieng Sithy also offers other service providers “my appreciation to you for your cooperation with MPTC.”

Contacted Thursday, Sieng Sithy declined to comment on the e-mail.

The minister, So Khun, told VOA Khmer his ministry has issued no orders to block sites.

“Maybe our technical staff who saw inappropriate content on those websites wrote to the ISPs themselves,” he said. “It’s a matter for the technical staff. Who knows?”

Information Minister Khieu Kanharith could not be reached for comment. However, he told the Phnom Penh Post on Thursday that an e-mail did not represent official government policy and he asked that the Telecom Ministry clarify the e-mail.

Cambodian Internet users have been complaining for weeks that they have been unable to access KI Media and other blogs, sometimes their own.

The government has strongly denied any policy or order to service providers requiring them to block any sites. In recent media statements, many service providers have likewise denied blocking websites.

Sok Channda, chief executive of the company that operates Angkornet and Mekongnet, told the Phnom Penh Post on Wednesday she had received the email from the ministry but not an official letter.

Nevertheless, Internet users trying to connect via various providers to KI Media and other sites have either found failure messages or been re-directed to other sites. Officials have blamed this on technical problems.

Critics say that the ruling Cambodian People’s Party controls much of the broadcast and print media in the country. Opposition editors and journalists have in recent years been jailed under defamation laws and many opposition-leaning newspapers have closed.

In December, the Phnom Penh court sentenced World Food Program staffer Seng Kunnaka to six months in jail on incitement charges, after he distributed a small number of copies of a print out from the KI Media website.

For the most part, though, the government has allowed free rein for Internet users. The number of Cambodians online has meanwhile begun to climb. An estimated 200,000 Cambodians are now online.

Heng Sokunthy, an Internet user and regular visitor to the KI Media site, said she was “strongly” affected by its recent failure to load.

“Although it contains some anti-government opinions, the site is a source of a great deal of Cambodia-related information,” she said.

The Telecom Ministry e-mail also comes as rights groups have begun to notice a decline in Internet freedoms in the country.

On Wednesday, Licadho issued a statement calling government censorship of websites “a significant milestone in the march toward a more oppressive media environment.”

The Cambodian Center for Human Rights said Cambodia’s freedom of expression is “in crisis” and called on the government to stop attempting to block websites.

“The blockage will make people more stressful and tense and unhappy with the government, as it does not understand their will,” CCHR President Ou Virak told VOA Khmer Thursday, citing recent events in Tunisia and Egypt as examples. “I see it as a danger to the government in the future.”


Anonymous said...

That's alright, he and his families get kill soon at cambodia.

Anonymous said...

People wait as I learn at Hun Sen regime high school history Preah Vihear belong to vietnam.

Vietnam king built this temple for his wife as luxury with great view from top of the mountain.

Anonymous said...

When the CPP elites can easily feed their families and send their children to good education in the West, can have what ever they want and above the Law while the majority of Cambodians struggle to make a living and put food on their table......Hun Sen and the CPP have every reason to be nervous.


Anonymous said...

Why do Kos Trol, sea and lands proximately over 10 000 km2 have been lost to Vietnam by who treaty? Why don't Cambodia goverment transparency explain to cambodia army at front line and the whole nation about this? Why don't they include this into education system? Why?

Cambodian army are fighting at front line for 4.6 km2 and what's about over 10 000km2 of cambodia to Vietnam. Nobody dare to talk about it! Why? Cambodian army you are decide the fade of your nation, Cambodian army as well as cambodian people must rethink about this again and again. Is it fair?

Kos Trol, Sea and lands over 10 000km2 have been lost to Vietnam by who treaty at 1979 to 1985 treaty! treaty! Cambodian army at front line as well as all cambodian people must rethink again about these issues. Are cambodian army fighting to protect the Cambodia Nation or protect a very small group that own big lands, big properties or only protecting a small group rather in the real name of protecting khmer nation?

Cambodian army at front line suffer under rain, wind, bullets, bombs,lack of foods, lack of nutrition, their families have no health care help, no securities after they die but a very small group eat well, sleep well, sleep in first class hotel with air conditioning with young girls message, have super health care from oversea medical treatment, they are billionairs, millionairs who sell out the country to be rich and make cambodian people suffer everyday as cambodian people know already.

Who signed the treaty 1979-1985 that result lost over 10 000 km2 of Cambodia??? Why don't they transparency inform all Cambodian and cambodian army at front line about these issues? Why don't include Kos Trol ( Kos Trol size is bigger than the whole Phom Phen with planty of natural resources ) in education

Anonymous said...

Sieng Sithy and So Khun,the more you blind Websited(KI-Media),the more you
hurt yourself.You can't stop the wave
of political uprisings in Khmer.
The wave of change
will punish you back.
Don't try to hold
on Khmer people hearts,you will face
of what you have done.
Both of you are evil men.
Today,you have a big smile,but tomorrow you'll be dead under bed Hun Sen.
Bad luck to both of you;one thing I want to mail to you,"when you put
too much air in your car's tires,the
air will blow your
head off".
Let it go! Because
they want FREEDOM!
If you don't,you go to hell.

Anonymous said...

He is very nice and proud to be IT-Expert in Cambodia, but oversea maybe no job for him. What is the meaning oft IT-training in USA? He has passed 10000 hours for his job already? Could we send some visiters making him a headach around his business? The block of URLs is
child's play, but against the "Cross Site Scripting" get stranger.

Anonymous said...

Well K1 if you got his pciture where is his email???

Anonymous said...