Accessibility links

Controversial Facebook Page Seen as Avenue for Gov’t Propaganda


FILE - In this May 16, 2012, file photo, the Facebook logo is displayed on an iPad in Philadelphia. Facebook is under fire for failing to rein in fake and biased news stories that some believe may have swayed the presidential election. Its predicament stems from this basic conundrum: It exercises great control over the news its users see, but it declines to assume the editorial responsibility that traditional publishers do. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)

Most recently, the Sei Ha page published audio recordings purporting to show key members of the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party discussing sex acts.

Numerous salacious claims against members of the opposition have circulated on social media in recent weeks, predominantly via an anonymous Facebook page called Sei Ha, which has been accused of acting as a conduit for government propaganda.

Most recently, the Sei Ha page published audio recordings purporting to show key members of the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party discussing sex acts.

The page claimed that CNRP lawmakers - Eng Chhai Eang, Yem Ponharith, Yim Sovann, Hour Van, Long Ry, Chan Cheng, Pot Pov, Riel Khemrin, Kem Sokha and Sam Rainsy - had been involved in salacious acts, including sex acts in parliament and gambling.

Sovann confirmed that the voices in the recordings were those of CNRP lawmakers, adding that he considers the publication of the claims “irrelevant”.

The owner of the Sei Ha Facebook page did not respond to requests for comment.

According to the criminal code, intercepting telecommunications in “bad faith” is punishable by imprisonment of up to a year and a fine.

General Khieu Sopheak, Interior Ministry spokesman, said the authorities would not investigate the Sei Ha page unless the opposition requested a probe.

“It’s difficult to proceed with an investigation without receiving any legal action, if they file a lawsuit, we will initiate an investigation,” he said.

“When any conversation of anyone is recorded and published it severely undermines the law and national security,” General Khieu Sopheak said.

Hong Kim Soun, executive director of the Cambodian Defenders Project, said if the phone conversations of members of the opposition had been tapped it would be an illegal act which “invades the rights of citizens, affects business, and undermines national security.”

“It can be seen that the government is violating the law when the government does not pay attention to acts of jamming and publishing telephone conversations of the public,” he said.

“It is a severe legal violation, which means that the nation has no law in practice... if the leader acknowledges the matter and still chooses not to care about it, he is violating the law and rights,” Hong Kim Soun said.

XS
SM
MD
LG