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Online harassment a rising concern

Khy Sovuthy / Khmer Times Share:
A report released yesterday showed 26 percent of internet users have experienced some form of abuse. KT/Khy Sovuthy

A report by LIRNEasia yesterday showed that 26 percent of internet users have experienced online bullying, unwanted sexual advances and stalking.

The report showed that online harassment was higher among women and that most occurred on the social media platforms Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

“Among surveyed countries, Cambodia saw the highest level of reported online harassment, with 26 percent of internet users reporting having experienced some form of online harassment,” it said. “Cyberstalking was a concern among female social media users in Cambodia.”

In Cambodia, 2,100 households and individuals were surveyed from 100 villages in 25 provinces, the report said.

Helani Galpaya, lead researcher and CEO of LIRNEasia, said Cambodia did better than wealthier countries such as Pakistan and India in terms of mobile phone ownership.

“The harassment number seems to be a reason for concern,” Ms Galpaya said.

Ayesha Zainudeen, a senior research manager with LIRNEasia, said a large portion of Cambodia’s 15-to-65-year-old population lacks understanding of what online harassment is and its effect on people.

“The indicators are clear that in order to get more Cambodians online, we need to create an awareness on what the internet is, and how to use it,” Ms Zainudeen said.

Ms Galpaya noted that the government should solve this problem by going down to schools to disseminate information regarding online harassment.

“Digital literacy and skill – I think those are the problems,” she said. “The government has to solve those problems, they have to bring awareness to schools, community centres, TV programmes, and teach people how to use the internet.”

She said that telecom companies should also disseminate information to their customers.

Kan Chanmetta, a secretary of state at the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunication, said the ministry will continue to monitor online spaces for any form of abuse.

“We welcome this new information because it is in line with what we are doing currently,” Mr Chanmetta said. “We will continue to work on this.”

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