NEWS: Cambodia’s Public Access to Information Law

In an initiative by the Ministry of Information (MoI), they have launched a website which allows visitors to leave their opinion and suggestions on the long-awaited freedom of information public laws. The Freedom of Information Laws gives citizens the right to access information regarding the Cambodian government, ensuring an open government and maximum disclosure.

The website, which went online on 27th January 2016, was created in conjunction with United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) along with the support from the Swedish government via a $1 million Swedish grant signed back in 2014. With the intentions of ensuring an open and transparent government, the site puts out current drafts of the information laws where visitors are able to give their direct feedback via a comment section.

This site is part of a three-year drafting process by the A2I Technical Working Group, a collaborative group consisting of UNESCO, the MoI and Sweden. This group brings together public and private organisations every month to discuss the law and go through the feedback and comments received. Despite the collaboration, the first secretary at the Swedish Embassy has reassured that Sweden would not be directly involved in the drafting of the laws and simply provided financial assistance.

Though first proposed over 10 years ago, the freedom of information laws are drafted for completion in 2018. It is said that this website would hopefully serve as a model example for drafting future legislations in Cambodia and help push for social accountability by the government.