Cambodia: Days before general election, government blocks several online media outlets
A few days before the Cambodian general election, the government has ordered the suspension of online media outlets Cambodia Daily, Radio Free Asia and Kamnotra. Reporters Without Borders (RSF) calls for their immediate reinstatement and denounces the information lockdown in the country.
Leading up to the Cambodian national elections on Sunday 23 July, 2023, online media outlets Cambodia Daily, Radio Free Asia (RFA) and Kamnotra have been made inaccessible in the country.
Following a censorship order issues on July 12 by the Cambodian Telecommunications Regulatory Authority, internet service providers blocked access to the websites of the three media outlets concerned, along with their Twitter and Instagram accounts, on the grounds that they “disseminate information to sow confusion and undermine the honor and prestige of the government.”
“Having almost completely eliminated the free press inside Cambodia, Hun Sen’s government is now targeting media operating from abroad in order to perfect its information lockdown. We call on the government to immediately reverse the ban and put an end to its repeated attacks on press freedom in the country.
Since the government banned Cambodia Daily and Radio Free Asia from operating within the country, both media outlets have been covering Cambodia from abroad. In a statement, Radio Free Asia spokesperson Rohit Mahajan denounced "a flagrant violation of Cambodian law and an attempt to censor the free flow of information before the July 23 elections".
Kamnotra, one of the last independent information platforms still active in the country, was founded in June 2023 as a successor to the Voice of Democracy (VOD), a media outlet forcibly closed in February 2023,.
Prime Minister Hun Sen and his government, in power without interruption since 1985, have stepped up their crackdown on independent journalism in recent years. Just before the previous general election in 2018, at least 18 media outlets were temporarily suspended from the Internet.
Cambodia ranks 147th out of 180 countries in RSF's 2023 World Press Freedom Index.