Cambodia has declared a ban on entry for the 22 members of the Oversight Board for Meta, the parent company of Facebook, effective from July 4. If any of these members are currently in the country, they are required to leave within 48 hours.
The announcement was made by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation on July 4, in a statement which also included the names of the board members.
This decision follows a recommendation by the board to Meta to temporarily suspend the official Facebook page of Prime Minister Hun Sen, a move characterised by the ministry as politically motivated.
“It intends to obstruct the freedom of the press for the citizens of Cambodia and the right to receive credible news from a leader whom they support and admire,” read the statement.
“In the spirit of unwavering adherence to upholding the principle of sovereignty and to prevent the interference into the internal affairs of Cambodia, the government has decided to declare the following members of the Oversight Board to Meta Platforms Inc as persona non grata”.
The 22 members barred from entering or remaining in Cambodia are Kenji Yoshino, Suzanne Nossel, Julie Owono, Tawakkol Karman, Pamela San Marti, Catalina Botero-Marino, Ronaldo Lemos, Afia Asantewaa Asare-Kyei, Michael McConnell, Nicolas Suzor, Nighat Dad, Paolo Carozza, Katherine Chen, Evelyn Aswad, Andras Sajo, Sudhir Krishnaswamy, Emi Palmor, Helle Thorning-Schmidt, John Samples,
Alan Rusbridger, Khaled Mansour, and Endy Bayuni.
Last week, Hun Sen deactivated his Facebook page, which had more than 14 million followers, following the board’s recommendation for a six-month suspension over a January video post they deemed to breach Facebook’s policies.
Hun Sen said last week that he had decided to leave the social media platform permanently to end speculation surrounding the US tech giant’s measures against him. He also pointed out alleged double standards, citing inaction against the opposition group.
“They [opposition] have previously [used Facebook] to urge the Cambodian armed forces to stage an uprising and arrest the prime minister by force of violence, but no action was ever taken by [the firm] against them,” he noted in a audio address to the nation on the night of June 30.