Cambodia’s ranking puts it in the company of Burma, Laos and North Korea, the only other Asian countries in the bottom 20.
Some 200 bloggers and technology experts from 15 countries hotly debated the issue at a five-day conference, called BlogFest, in Siem Reap earlier this month.
Rights and advocacy groups say the problem is one of laws and the will to solve them, not of vested parties.
More than nine months after the former governor of Bavet town allegedly shot three bystanders during a labor strike, the authorities have failed to arrest or bring him to court.
After the Jan. 22, 2004, shooting of Chea Vichea, two suspects, Born Samnang and Sok Samoeun, were taken into custody, but they soon became known as the “plastic,” or false, killers.
In a brief meeting with Prime Minister Hun Sen last week, US President Barack Obama focused on concerns over Cambodia’s sliding rights record and decreased freedoms.
Mam Sonando was arrested in July, at which time another alleged secessionist, Bun Ratha, fled.
Head of the Cambodia Indigenous Youth Association said the slur should not go unpunished, calling the insult “cruel.”
That included US concern for the imprisonment of Mam Sonando, owner of Beehive Radio, one of the few independent broadcasters in the country.
Cambodian officials have said numerous reports of human rights abuses ahead of Obama’s visit were meant to discredit the government.
A government spokesman dismissed the letter, saying it did not reflect the true situation in Cambodia.
This has led to increased reports of rights abuses in host countries, particularly Malaysia, where young Cambodian are sent to work as maids.