Internet Cafe Ban Worries Bloggers

Posted December 18th, 2012 at 7:11 am (UTC+7)
10 comments

Cambodian bloggers say a new government ban on Internet cafes near schools could mean the elimination of Phnom Penh cyber cafes altogether.

The Ministry of Post and Telecommunications has issued a circular banned Internet cafes within 500 meters of any school. It also bans Internet use to people under the age of 18 and “outlines numerous dangers that the Internet poses, such as terrorism, economic crimes and the distribution of pornography,” the Cambodian Daily reported.

The rights group Licadho points out that the new ministry circular would mean “a near-complete” ban on cyber cafes.

Tep Sovichet, a 17-year-old high school student and a blogger, says he has little reason to support the new measure. Not all cyber cafes are online gaming centers, he wrote in a blog post in Khmer language recently. Many of them are resource centers, where students and others come to learn, regardless of their age, and where they have access to news and information from a variety of sources.

Tep Sovichet, who hopes to become a computer programmer and web developer, says having the cafes near schools also improves school attendance.

A blogger at KhmerBird.com writes: “I totally support the ideas behind this circular. But I think to restrict games and pornography form those Internet cafes, it is not necessary to close the Internet cafes.”

Licadho Director Naly Pilorge called the ministry’s circular a “heavy-handed effort to shut down affordable and accessible venues for using the Internet in Cambodia.” It “is not only legally unfounded,” she said. “It is a transparent attempt to block part of the population’s access to independent sources of information through news sites and social media.”


Map produced by LICADHO showing 500-meter buffer zones from education institutions (black squares)

Related links:
Internet Users Fear Online Suppression With Draft of Cyber Law

Internet Freedom in Cambodia – A Timeline

Bun Tharum is a freelance journalist, blogger, and digital media specialist. Blogging since 2004, he’s been a contributing-writer for Global Voices Online, Asian Correspondent, and several other print publications. His main interests are information and communication technologies for development and online media. Tharum’s base is Phnom Penh, Cambodia’s largest capital city.

10 Responses to “Internet Cafe Ban Worries Bloggers”

  1. iamSK says:

    this is similar to Thailand. Ban Pub, Bar near school/university. can’t be near school/university at xxx radius (not remember the exact number).

  2. [...] by LicadhoThis has raised a lot of eyebrows among Cambodian bloggers. Tharum Bun wrote on the VOA blog that the new government would eventually eliminate Phnom Penh cyber cafes [...]

  3. [...] has raised a lot of eyebrows among Cambodian bloggers. Tharum Bun wrote on the VOA blog that the new government would eventually eliminate Phnom Penh cyber cafes [...]

  4. [...] vicenda ha sollevato molti dubbi tra i blogger locali. Tharum Bun ha scritto sul blog VOA che il nuovo governo eliminerebbe tutti gli internet cafè di Phnom [...]

  5. [...] sok kambodzsai blogger húzta fel a szemöldökét. Tharum Bun a VOA blogon [en] azt írta, hogy a kormány végeredményben megszüntetné az összes internetkávézót [...]

  6. [...] has raised a lot of eyebrows among Cambodian bloggers. Tharum Bun wrote on the VOA blogthat the new government would eventually eliminate Phnom Penh cyber cafes [...]

  7. [...] 此事引起国内博客议论纷纷,Tharum Bun在美国之声博客里写道,新政府最终将消灭首都境内所有网咖。 [...]

  8. [...] je podiglo mnogo obrva među Kambodžanskim blogerima. Tharum Bun je napisao na blogu Glasa Amerike da će nova vlada na kraju ukloniti sve cyber kafiće u Pnom [...]

  9. [...] des utilisateurs.Cela avait causé beaucoup d’émoi parmi les blogueurs cambodgiens. Sur le blog de VOA, Tharum Bun prédit l’élimination pure et simple des cybercafés à Phnom Penh sous [...]

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Bun Tharum is a freelance journalist, blogger, and digital media specialist. Blogging since 2005, he’s been a contributing-writer for Global Voices Online, Asian Correspondent, and several other print publications. His main interests are information and communication technologies for development and online media. Tharum’s base is Phnom Penh, Cambodia’s largest capital city.

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