On the 24th of July last week, Freedom House held a consultation session on Cybercrime and Internet Freedom in Cambodia, where they invited several important stakeholders including civil society organisations (CSOs), youths, media, and private sector representatives to come together and give their viewpoints on the draft Statement of Principals on Cambodian Internet Freedom.
Together with the Cambodian Centre for Independent Media, Freedom House, an independent organisation that is devoted to increasing freedom around the globe, managed to gather more than 70 NGOs, businesses, lawyers, and social media activists at its full day session.
The draft statement that they came up with aims to list the different online rights that are seen as crucial in needing protection and promotion in Cambodia. This comes at a time where Internet Freedom and Cybercrime is becoming an increasingly significant topic in the Kingdom, with the number of Internet users rising by 414% since January 2014. Moreover, more Cambodians are now active social media users too, which has seen a 100% rise since January 2014. This can undoubtedly lead to more cases of cyber-bullying, as well as other forms of cybercrime.
With the Kingdom becoming more technologically savvy, this draft statement comes at the right time for stakeholders to start thinking about the issues that can arise from increased Internet usage in Cambodia. Additionally, the government recently announced that they are working on the Cybercrime Law here.
Thus, this Statement of Principals can help to be an influential tool in helping the authorities to come up with new laws that will restrict or protect freedom online. One of the principals includes the right to freedom of expression on the Internet, which states that everyone, regardless of their socio-economic status, political or religious beliefs, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, or disability, has the right to access and use a secure and open Internet.
Another principal states that everyone has the right to privacy on the Internet, including remaining anonymous online. So far, 8 principals have already been drafted.
Keep your eyes peeled on Geeks in Cambodia as we will follow up with the outcome of these first steps. Let us know what you else you think should be in this Statement of Principals in the comments below!