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NGOs and Civil Society Officials Criticize The Government Of Using Old UNTAC Law

NGOs and civil society officials criticize the government of still using old U.N. Transitional Authority for Cambodia (UNTAC) law to silence journalists.

The National Assembly removed punishment by imprisonment from article 63 from UNTAC law for defamation, but the government is alleged to be still using article 62 to silence criticisms from journalists.

The officials made these comments when deputy Prime Minister Sok An, and Prime Minister Hun Sen's nephew, Hun To file a law suit against local newspapers leaning toward the opposition party, Maneaksaka, and Love Khmer, charged of defamation for publishing untrue stories.

Cambodia Center for Human Rights (CCHR) director Kem Sokha says that a number of government officials are using their influences to stop articles that do not not bring them political gains from being published, especially when the election time is getting close.

Government spokesman Khieu Kanharith says that journalists are not above the law, that when they write articles that smear other people's reputation, these people have the rights to file lawsuits.

The Alliance of Freedom of Expression in Cambodia expresses its concern about some government officials who are using old UNTAC article 62 on "false information", reacting to journalists who criticize them.