Increasing government online surveillance and targeting of free speech on social media saw Cambodia’s record of protecting internet freedoms follow a downward trend, as seen across Southeast Asia, according to watchdog and think tank Freedom House.
The annual “Freedom on the Net 2019” report released by Freedom House on Nov. 12 showed Cambodia drop two points in its online freedoms rating, notching a “partly free” classification. This meant Cambodia did better than its Asean neighbors, Thailand and Vietnam, but only by a little.
The major reasons for the drop in score was the blocking of independent news websites during the controversial 2018 national election, persecution of social media users for online activity and the prosecution of people based on the lèse-majesté amendments added to the criminal code in 2018.
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