Cambodia expands monitoring of social media to private messaging apps, citing fake news

Cambodia has expanded government monitoring of social media to include apps like TikTok, WhatsApp and Telegram in a bid to target fake news. Though intended in part to combat misinformation about COVID-19, the announcement has raised concerns about a new wave of censorship of independent media and political opposition in the country.

Cambodia’s Information Ministry is expanding its monitoring of social media to messaging apps like WhatsApp and Telegram, as well as TikTok. The government has said that it made the decision out of concern about fake news regarding COVID-19.

Human rights groups warn that the government’s attempt to tackle fake news is yet another thinly veiled attack on independent media and freedom of speech in the country. Prime Minister Hun Sen’s government appears to be using the threat of false information about the COVID-19 pandemic to carry out arrests of political opponents and journalists critical of the government.

Cambodia’s Information Ministry has decided to expand its monitoring of social media apps to include messaging platforms like WhatsApp, Telegram and Facebook Messenger and also TikTok. Previously, the government had mostly targeted social media platforms like Facebook, YouTube and Twitter in the name of tackling fake news.

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