Vietnam has issued a fine and urged the closure of a Web site dedicated to the Southeast Asian Games after it published inaccurate information on Cambodia, the Vietnam News Agency reported on Tuesday.
Cambodian government officials and opposition politicians demanded an official apology and an investigation of the Web site, www.seagames22.net, after reports last week that the site listed Cambodia’s territorial size at 176,520 square km, well short of that stated in the Constitution.
Though the site was not Vietnam’s official Web presence for the 22nd SEA Games, which are currently being held in Vietnam, officials at the Vietnamese Embassy in Phnom Penh vowed a full investigation.
Phnom Penh and Hanoi have been involved in years of fruitless negotiations over the delineation of Cambodia’s land and maritime borders. Many Cambodians believe that thousands of square kilometers of land and sea have been lost to Vietnamese encroachment.
According to the VNA report, the SEA Games press center issued a news release on Tuesday affirming that its official Web site, www.seagames22.com.vn, contained accurate information on Cambodia’s official land mass, 181,035 square km.
The erroneous information, which included the wrong number of Cambodian radio and television stations and an incorrect logo for the Cambodian national football team, was published on a Web site “construed as part of the [games] Organizing Committee,” the press center stated.
Though the offending Web site is owned by a private company registered as Hanoi 1000-year-old Thang Long Infrastructure Development Co, the site has not been granted an operating license by the Vietnamese government, the press center added.
“The Vietnamese Ministry of Culture and Information on Dec 8, 2003, urged that private company to cancel for good the operation of this Web site” and fined it approximately $2,000 for the misinformation, VNA reported.