Gov’t Panel OKs Plan To Block Porn on Internet

An Interministerial Committee on Thursday approved a proposal to fight Internet pornography that would allow the government to block Web sites and chat rooms that contain sexual images, Minister of Women’s Affairs Ung Kantha Phavy said Thursday.

Blocking Web sites would not af­fect access to information in general, and the Ministry of Post and Te­le­communications had already ap­proved the measure, she added.

“Blocking Web sites does not af­fect everyone because we will only block those that send sexual images,” Ung Kantha Phavy said. “I have already talked with the Min­istry of Post and Telecommunications, and it said no problem.”

The proposal would soon be sent to Prime Minister Hun Sen for ap­proval, Ung Kantha Phavy said.

Pornography was responsible for an increase in sexual crime, she said.

“Pornography showing underage girls on the Internet and on mobile phones has been causing chaos in Khmer society,” she ad­ded.

Ho Naun, a lawmaker and chair of the National Assembly’s permanent commission on public health, so­cial work, labor and women’s af­fairs, said Thursday that she supports Ung Kantha Phavy’s stand against Internet porn and the proposed measures to tackle it.

“Anything that affects women’s dig­nity must be banned,” she said, ad­ding that she believes pornography has led to an increase in cases of rape, child rape and incest.

But Ho Naun, along with some law enforcement officials, questioned whether implementing the an­ti-porn measures would be feasible.

“Modern technology evolves too fast,” she said. “Our measures may not be 100 percent effective, but we will do our best.”

Phnom Penh Municipal Police Com­missioner Heng Pov also said fighting Internet porn would be difficult.

“It isn’t easy to just shut down Web cams and chat rooms,” he said. “And we can’t just shut down the whole Internet.”

Minister of Post and Telecommunications So Khun also said blocking porn Web sites would not be easy.

“We did not produce those Web sites, so we cannot just shut them down,” he said, adding that many Web sites were based abroad.

“How can we tell them to stop?” So Khun asked.

The government will, however, contact the offending Web sites and “just tell them…not to post pornography anymore,” the minister said.

Chea Vannath, president of the Cent­er for Social Development, said she supports measures to limit Internet pornography but wor­ries that the power to block Web sites could be taken too far.

“If they block one [Web site], they might continue and block others like Khmer Intelligence,” she added referring to the Web site that focuses on Cambodian politics and is vociferous in its opposition to the government.

“The idea is good,” she said. “But the result could be bad.”

 

 

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