PHNOM PENH —
At a congress for the ruling Cambodian People’s Party over the weekend, Prime Minister Hun Sen urged ruling party members to connect to Cambodians via Facebook.
Hun Sen already has an official account, as does his political rival, Sam Rainsy, head of the Cambodia National Rescue Party.
But Hun Sen told members of his party that they need to be technologically savvy and use social media to get information out to people and from them, Sok Eysan, a spokesman for the party, said Tuesday.
“He’s thinking about the news that [officials] could get from people on time to solve their problems on time,” Sok Eysan said.
Chan Sophal, governor for Battamang province, who attended the congress, told VOA Khmer he has set up a Facebook account that he uses to connect with people on the advice of Hun Sen.
“Yes, I use it to communicate with people and get information and other news, about provincial administration and other issues that are supposed to be solved,” he said.
His constituents use Facebook to contact him, he said, and he encouraged his colleagues to also get on the social networking site. “I think that these days information technology eases work,” he said. “I’ll encourage my colleagues to pay attention to learning [technology] and use it.”
Ou Virak, head of the think tank Future Forum, said he welcomed the ruling party’s stance on social media and its uses—but he also said government institutions, not just politicians, should be responding to people’s needs for transparency.
“In fact, all the ministries should be open to the public, in terms of information,” he said. “There should be a law, approved by the National Assembly, to make institutions open to the public. That’s called freedom of information.”