In celebration of Cambodia’s thorough crackdown on opposition views, I’d love to take up Maggie Lamb’s challenge on Facebook for all of us to violate Articles 62 and 63 in the Cambodian criminal code at the same time.
Robert Carmichael in the Asia Media Forum lists some recent actions against opposition officials and members of the press, which does not include the defamation case against the Cambodia Daily:
One editor of a newspaper affiliated with the opposition Sam Rainsy Party (SRP) is now serving a one-year jail term for publishing a story the government objected to. The publisher of another newspaper, ‘Moneaksekar Khmer’, was told this week he would be sued and could go to jail after publishing a series of articles allegedly designed to incite conflict between government ministers.
On the political front, two opposition MPs are being sued by senior officials of the ruling party for defamation after having their immunity stripped by the lower house. Their lawyer recently quit their cases and the SRP and crossed over to the ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) after being told he would be sued.
Two other opposition MPs have been told they could have their immunity taken away too. Two non-government organisations have also received legal threats.
That the government beelines for the courts rather than counter criticisms via more palatable channels such as rebuttal pieces, propaganda speeches and using more of the widely popular comedy skits as they did a few weeks ago, is truly curious. See one of the videos here: Khmer Media Watch.
Oh and WWF joins the ranks of Unfavored NGO Status in Cambodia for releasing scientific data on the state of the Mekong River dolphins (the species is all but functionally extinct). To further add to the comic relief, Global Witness recently urged the UK to revoke PM Hun Sen’s visa ahead of a planned visit to the country to see his son graduate.
Wonder how the crackdown will be managed on the internet, as it will inevitably do. There are a growing number of critical voices across the various social networks…