Blogs Back Online, Ministry Denies Blocking Website Access

Two months after anti-government websites first became inaccessible to users here, both the Tele­com­munications Ministry and Cam­bodian Internet service pro­viders could offer no concrete causes yesterday for the blockage.

Though access was restored earlier this month, the websites—KI Me­dia, Khmerization and Sacrava­toons, blogs that often take a critical stance against the government—went dark to most Web users in late January. E-mails sent from an official at the Telecommunications Ministry that surfaced last month asked In­ternet companies to “[p]lease take an action” regarding the websites.

Nevertheless, Telecoms Mini­ster So Khun said yesterday that the ministry had not investigated the matter and could not do so.

“We did not make any investigation…. It’s just like finding a needle in the seabed. Any­way, we can access it now,” Mr Khun said. “We don’t have the ability to find out the problem. The websites themselves better find out the problems.”

He repeated that no order was given to block access and denied any knowledge about the e-mails sent from the account of Sieng Sithy, de­puty director of the ministry’s di­r­ectorate of telecommunications policy, to employees at 10 different IS­Ps.

“I did not order any official or Sieng Sithy to e-mail Internet companies. If I did, I could use my own e-mail,” he said. “I don’t know that Sieng Sithy e-mailed to any Internet company. It is an individual right.”

Mr Sithy could not be reached.

Sok Channda, CEO of Cambo­dia Data Communications, which operates MekongNet and Angkor­Net, said the company was at a loss as to what happened.

“We did not find the problem of the website, but we did not block the website. However it could be caused from an technical error or any problem elsewhere,” she said.

Authors of the blogs said they re­mained undaunted.

“Khmerization will never…­change its editorial lines,” the blog’s anonymous author wrote in an e-mail. “It will continue its…critical stance ag­ainst corruption, incompetence, hu­m­an rights abuses by re­porting the truth.”


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