Prime Minister Hun Sen has responded to critics who said his ban on using sex appeal online violated the rights of women.
“Critics said [I am victim-blaming women] for the degradation of Khmer culture, but when I appeal to them not to wear sexy clothes online, they accuse me of breaking human rights,” Mr Hun Sen said yesterday. “The government is not banning online businesses, we are suggesting not to wear short skirts and be partially topless.”
He added that actresses on TV shows and movies should not wear revealing clothes.
Mr Hun Sen on February 17 said some online promoters wear revealing clothes to advertise products on social media sites and ordered the Interior Ministry to take action.
He said legal action can be taken against any woman on social media displaying videos or images of themselves in revealing clothes because doing so negatively affects the honour of Cambodian women.
On February 19, an online vendor was arrested after she allegedly wore revealing clothes to promote her products on social media.
Facebook users following the warning criticised the policy, calling it detrimental to freedom of expression.
One user said women should have the right to dress however they want and choice of clothing should not affect the morality of Khmer women.
Soa Phearun, a deputy director for BTV News, yesterday said he supports Mr Hun Sen’s warning, adding his network does not display people in revealing outfits.
“One of our shows has millions of people watching so we have to pay attention to the clothes of MCs and presenters,” Mr Phearun said. “If we see someone wearing sexy clothes, we will prevent images from being shown on TV.”
Chou Bun Eng, vice-chair woman of the National Committee for Anti-Human Trafficking, said Mr Hun Sen made the right move.
Ms Bun Eng said women who display photos of themselves in scantly-clad tempt men to cheat on their wives and invite online sexual harassment.
“We support the government’s action to promote the value of women and national identity,” she said.
Chin Malin, spokesman for the Justice Ministry, yesterday said the ban does not violate the rights of citizens, noting wearing revealing clothes can be deemed as “exposing pornography” under the law.
“It is to preserve traditional culture, the nation and public order,” Mr Malin said.