Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Meet on freedom of information law as due date nears

Meet on freedom of information law as due date nears

Meet on freedom of information law as due date nears

Representatives of around 20 civil society organisations (CSOs) will meet today to discuss key chapters of Cambodia’s long-gestating freedom of information law, which is meant to be completed by late December.

“We’ll discuss mechanisms to submit complaints if people don’t receive the requested information,” said Phan Barmey, senior program manager at the Advocacy and Policy Institute (API).

The law has been in the works since 2007, but didn’t pick up steam until UNESCO established a memorandum of understanding with the government in the wake of the 2013 elections.

UNESCO earmarked a three-year time period for the law’s completion. Currently, a committee of officials from the Ministry of Information, the Ministry of Justice, UNESCO and a handful of CSOs meet monthly to discuss and review the draft law.

Meanwhile, CSOs are meeting on the sidelines to solidify their proposals and suggestions.

But while many agree that discussions are proceeding transparently, some expressed concern about a lack of independent enforcement mechanisms once the law was adopted.

“We advocated for the government to have an independent commission to oversee the law, but we haven’t seen any signal from the government on how they will react to this,” said Transparency International Cambodia’s Preap Kol. “Political independence is always a concern, which is why we are pushing for a purely independent commission to investigate complaints.”

CSOs will request three separate channels for handling complaints from citizens seeking information: one within the ministries, one with independent bodies, and one through the courts, Barmey added.

UNESCO’s Cambodia representative Anne Lemaistre, meanwhile, said yesterday that, “There will be [UNESCO] monitors to make sure the law is implemented.”

MOST VIEWED

  • ‘Education’ a priority traffic-law penalty

    A top National Police official on June 21 neither rejected nor confirmed the authenticity of a leaked audio message, which has gone viral on social media, on a waiver of fines for a number of road traffic-related offences. General Him Yan, deputy National Police chief in

  • Pursat Ford assembly plant opens

    The Kingdom’s first Ford assembly plant was inaugurated on June 16 in Pursat province amid rising demand for brand-new vehicles among Cambodians. The facility is seen as a game changer for the domestic automobile industry, which could bring a wave of investors seeking to cash

  • Siem Reap’s $18M zoo said to educate public, help wildlife

    Angkor Wildlife and Aquarium Co Ltd has invested $18 million in a zoo in Siem Reap province, which will be opened in October to educate and promote animal conservation as well as attract national and international tourists. Currently, the Angkor Wildlife and Aquarium is building the

  • Volunteer scheme to foster ‘virtuous’ humanitarian spirit

    A senior education official said volunteer work contributes to solidarity and promotes a virtuous humanitarian spirit among the youth and communities. Serei Chumneas, undersecretary of state at the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport, made the comment during the opening of a training programme called “

  • $50B infrastructure plan en route

    The government’s upcoming $50 billion,10-year infrastructure master plan will provide tremendous investment opportunities for domestic and foreign entities, transport experts and economists say. Minister of Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol revealed the plan to Japanese ambassador to Cambodia Masahiro Mikami on June 15. At

  • Chinese firms unveil preliminary results on metro, monorail for capital

    Minister of Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol and representatives from China Road and Bridge Corp (CRBC) and its parent company, the state-owned China Communications Construction Co Ltd (CCCC), met on June 24 for talks on results of the firms’ preliminary study on a potential metro