The Stung Treng Provincial Administration has imposed a restriction on unauthorised drone flights in the province, effective from July 12 to July 23.

This measure is a part of efforts to respect citizens’ privacy and uphold security, order, and safety throughout the general election campaign and on election day itself.

Officials from the National Election Committee (NEC) have indicated that other provincial capitals may implement similar restrictions.

The Stung Treng provincial administration’s announcement of July 12 allows only permitted drones and those used in agriculture to fly.

“All drones aiming to capture images and information on Stung Treng province are strictly prohibited, unless necessary, with written permission in advance from the Stung Treng provincial administration,” the provincial administration said.

Drones used in agricultural activities, such as spraying pesticides or fertilisers on crops, are allowed to operate between 7:00 AM and 2:00 PM only.

Legal actions will be taken against any flight that does not comply with the specified timings.

Speaking on the ban, NEC spokesman Hang Puthea said that the election process is a collaborative effort, with local authorities playing a significant role.

“Authorities are required to ensure security and order during the election process. So it’s not uncommon for security and defence issues to require measures like these,” he explained.

Puthea also revealed that similar actions might be taken in the capital and provinces, particularly by the Phnom Penh administration, to maintain order and social security.

The campaign for the election of the 7th government mandate will conclude on July 21, with the election taking place on July 23. Eighteen political parties are vying for the win.

While Soeng Sen Karuna, the spokesman for rights group Adhoc, supports the drone ban as a means of safeguarding public security, he urges the provincial administration to review the ban’s impact on drones used in agriculture to prevent any adverse effects on farming activities.

Karuna also called on the NEC to issue a joint directive for all geographical areas in the capital-province, stressing that it is the NEC’s duty to prevent any potential conflict arising from the provincial administration’s actions.