As some aspects of this draft are related to the mandate of the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications, the Ministry would like to clarify to the public as following:
1-The draft is still at an early stage of formulation
In the mid of 2010, a working group was established by the Office of the Council of Ministers to draft this law with the cooperation of the specialist on cybercrime law, Mr. Alexander Seger, Chief of Economic Crime Unit from European Council. Countries in the region, namely Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines, Australia and New Zealand also collaborated and contributed to the drafting. Moreover, an inter-ministerial workshop was organized under the theme “Understanding the Process of Cyber Law Drafting”. However, the draft is still at its early stage of synthesizing relevant reference materials with preliminary technical discussions only.
The draft has been on hold as the Royal Government prioritized its effort to review other draft laws, legal documents and to address various urgent tasks and priorities.
2-Cybercrime is a cross-cutting issue and under the purview of various authorities
This draft law initially aimed to define the awareness measures, to prevent and combat against all cybercrimes to ensure law enforcement concerning cybercrimes, as well as to ascertain safety and legal benefits in using and improving information and communication technology.Cyber-crimes and -offenses consist of many types and they are under the purview of various authorities. These offenses include illegal connections to others’ computers, data interferences, child pornography production and distribution systems, fraud via computer as well as other offenses which affect national independence, integrity and security, etc. The dissemination of any information contents affecting national traditional values such as inciting racism; discriminating against religion; slander; defamation; insult; etc will be counted as cyber offenses. As the principles, penalties on the above offenses shall be consistent with the existing laws such as law on freedom of press and criminal code.
3-The Royal Government promotes and encourages investment and development in ICT
It is regrettable that while this draft law is yet to be opened to public consultation, there are some accusations that the Royal Government intends to control domestic internet system and stifle all online criticism.
Ever since the previous mandates, the Royal Government always adheres to the policy of promoting modern ICT Development with high quality and in accordance with international standard while maintaining competitive pricing and nationwide coverage that is accessible and beneficial to all members of the public.
Recent development in ICT sector in Cambodia is not a coincident. Currently Cambodia ranks third in the number of mobile subscribers in ASEAN while the internet users have jumped from 320,000 users in 2010 to 5,074,600 users in February 2015, 16 times the previous record. New technology such as 4G has been introduced to the market. On top of the 20,000 Km nationwide fiber optic network, Cambodia will have submarine cable connectivity that supports strong and fast-speed internet service. They are the outcome of the Royal Government of Cambodia’s policy to promote and encourage development in ICT sector. More specifically the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications has recently adopted the “Cambodia ICT Master Plan 2020” in 2014, which is the main priority in promoting e-services such as e-government, e-commerce, e-education, and e-tourism. The pathway towards harmonizing 700MHz frequency band for effective mobile broadband is another effort to provide more options for information sharing.
In summary, this draft law will protect the lawful benefits of each stakeholder in the society, fight against cyber-crimes and other offenses online while the country is moving towards digital economy. This draft law will also base on positive experiences and best practices from other countries in the region and will ensure Cambodia’s successful integration into the ASEAN Economic Community in early 2016.
The Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications believes that it is too early to debate and judge a draft that is still in the making. This is like tasting a soup that has yet to have all the ingredients added. Such presumption is in complete contrast to the endeavors of the Royal Government to avail more options for our people to share information, knowledge and opinions.