Cambodia delays internet gateway activists say would “devastate” free expression

The Cambodian government decided to delay implementing an internet gateway that would funnel all web traffic through a state-controlled entry point. Cambodia’s secretary of state for the Telecommunications Ministry said the gateway, which was supposed to be implemented yesterday, is being postponed because of Covid-19. The country’s foreign affairs department attacked foreign media for criticising the gateway, but activists and UN rights experts say it would be “devastating” for freedom of expression and privacy.

A spokesman for the Cambodian Foreign Affairs Department said the gateway is being prepared in a “transparent manner.” He also said it would help prevent cyber crimes, illicit online gambling, and internet scams. This news comes ahead of Cambodia’s 2023 elections. The Cambodian Centre for Human Rights said the government could use the gateway to block opposing views in the run-up to polls.

The rights group Reporters Without Borders said the gateway would be “a level of information control unseen since the Khmer Rouge dictatorship.”

The secretary of state for the Telecommunications Minstry told AFP the ministry would inform them when they decided on a new date to implement the gateway.

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SOURCE: France 24

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Tara Abhasakun

A Thai-American dual citizen, Tara has reported news and spoken on a number of human rights and cultural news issues in Thailand. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in history from The College of Wooster. She interned at Southeast Asia Globe, and has written for a number of outlets. Tara reports on a range of Thailand news issues.

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