Prime Minister Hun Sen yesterday called on ministries to consider creating an anti-fake news law and speed up the draft of an anti-cybercrime law that was initiated in the government’s previous mandate.
Mr Hun Sen’s call was made just a week after his Facebook account was allegedly hacked and a post said that the social media platform would soon be blocked in the Kingdom.
Speaking during the ground breaking ceremony of the project for flood protection and drainage improvement in Phnom Penh yesterday, Mr Hun Sen said the anti-fake news and anti-cybercrime laws are necessary.
“Some countries have created anti-fake news laws and some other countries have anti-cybercrime laws,” Mr Hun Sen said. “So, Cambodia must think about these laws.”
He reiterated that he will not shut down Facebook in Cambodia, but asked its officials to monitor user activity to make sure their comments do not go against the law.
“I will not stop Facebook here, I will not allow such a thing to happen because our people need it,” Mr Hun Sen said. “Obviously, we receive benefits from Facebook but there are some users who are using it in a negative way.”
He noted that there is a need to punish those who express comments which break the law.
“We need to educate users progressively over posting comments and we also need to take some legal action too,” the Prime Minister noted.
In April last year, the government said it is looking to draft a “fake news” law, similar to legislation that was introduced in Malaysia, but the plan did not take off.
Lieutenant General Pang Rasy, deputy head of the Ministry of Interior’s Legislation Council, yesterday said legal experts at the Interior Ministry, Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications and other relevant ministries are in the process of drafting the anti-cybercrime law.
“We are in the process of drafting the anti-cybercrime law,” he said. “We need time to review and discuss legal issues.”
Lt Gen Rasy could not give a time frame on when the draft law would be sent to the Council of Ministers.
Political analyst Lao Mong Hay said yesterday that Mr Hun Sen’s intention to create an anti-fake news law and anti-cybercrime law is intended to control internet users.
“It is another instance of the government’s totalitarian-styled approach to extend its control over people’s activities and thoughts,” he said.