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New Cambodia Law Restricts Parliament’s Freedom of Speech

Last Friday, Cambodia’s Constitutional Council declared that the 'Freedom of Speech Law' passed in August 2005, is constitutional.

The newly adopted legislation restricts members of parliament from abusing their parliamentary immunity, to express opinions that could be considered a violation of Article 5’s law.

Article 5 curbs lawmakers from “harming [other] individual’s dignity, social customs, public order, and national security”, said Constitutional Council’s chairman, Ben Chhin.

In light of the controversy surrounding the new law, on Monday’s show VOA Khmer invited Ou Virak, secretary general for Alliance for Freedom of Expression in Cambodia (APEC) to shed light on this topic for Hello VOA’s listeners.

Ou Virak echoes concerns that the legislation will weaken Cambodia's freedom of speech, particularly parliamentarians that have opposed the ruling party’s decisions.

Keo Remy, a legislator of the opposition party shares this sentiment, saying that "[Article 5] has certain biases that would restrict member of opposition parties from expressing their opinions freely”.

Meanwhile, Ou Virak urges fellow Cambodians to fight the new law, and demand that the Constitutional Council change its policy.

For more information, click on the above links to listen to recent reports on Freedom of Speech Law.