Cambodia 🇰🇭 is a Southeastern Asian country which mostly practices Buddhism. It was formerly a French colony. Censorship was pervasive during Pol Pot's Khmer Rouge rule (1975-1979). It is currently a democratic monarchy.

General censorship[]

  • During the Khmer Rouge regime under Pol Pot, intellectuals, as well anyone who could even read and write were sentenced to death as part of the genocide against Cambodians.

Book censorship[]

Film censorship[]

  • The Wolf of Wall Street - this film was banned for putting Cambodia in a negative light.
  • Who Killed Chea Vichea? - this film was banned for investigating the mysterious 2004 assassination of Chea Vichea, one of Cambodia's most influential union leaders who spent years fighting for increased wages and improved working conditions for the nation's 300,000 garment workers.
  • Fifty Shades of Grey - this film was banned for "insane romance, numerous sex sequences, the use of violence during sex" and for being "entirely related to sexual matters that are too extreme for Khmer society".
  • No Escape - this film was banned for its "negative portrayal of local culture", as the language the police officers used was an altered version of Khmer, thus potentially identifying the film's unnamed country (then undergoing a very violent coup) as Cambodia.
  • Kingsman: The Golden Circle - this film was banned for portraying Cambodia as a base for the movie's antagonists, more precisely, the Ta Prohm temple being used as base for the main antagonist.
  • Methagu - this film was banned for request of the Sri Lankan government after depicted biographic of Velupillai Prabhakaran Leader of LTTE.
  • No More Bets - this Chinese crime thriller film about human traffic and people being forced to work in a slave camp-like fraud factory was banned in the country for "seriously damaging Cambodia's image and reputation".

Internet censorship[]

In its Freedom on the Net 2013 report, Freedom House gives Cambodia a "Freedom on the Net Status" of "partly free".

Compared to traditional media in Cambodia, new media, including online news, social networks and personal blogs, enjoy more freedom and independence from government censorship and restrictions. However, the government does proactively block blogs and websites, either on moral grounds, or for hosting content deemed critical of the government. The government restricts access to sexually explicit content, but does not systematically censor online political discourse. Since 2011 three blogs hosted overseas have been blocked for perceived antigovernment content. In 2012, government ministries threatened to shutter internet cafes too near schools—citing moral concerns—and instituted surveillance of cafe premises and cell phone subscribers as a security measure.

Early in 2011, very likely at the urging of the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications, all Cambodian ISPs blocked the hosting service Blogspot, apparently in reaction to a December 2010 post on KI-Media, a blog run by Cambodians from both inside and outside the country. The site, which is often critical of the administration, described the prime minister and other officials as "traitors" after opposition leader Sam Rainsy alleged they had sold land to Vietnam at a contested national border. All ISPs but one subsequently restored service to the sites following customer complaints. In February 2011, however, multiple ISPs reinstated blocks on individual Blogspot sites, including KI-Media, Khmerization—another critical citizen journalist blog—and a blog by the Khmer political cartoonist Sacrava.

There are no government restrictions on access to the Internet or credible reports that the government monitors e-mail or Internet chat rooms without appropriate legal authority. During 2012 NGOs expressed concern about potential online restrictions. In February and November, the government published two circulars, which, if implemented fully, would require Internet cafes to install surveillance cameras and restrict operations within major urban centers. Activists also reported concern about a draft “cybercrimes” law, noting that it could be used to restrict online freedoms. The government maintained it would only regulate criminal activity.

The constitution provides for freedom of speech and press; however, these rights were not always respected in practice. The 1995 press law prohibits prepublication censorship or imprisonment for expressing opinions; however, the government uses the penal code to prosecute citizens on defamation, disinformation, and incitement charges. The penal code does not prescribe imprisonment for defamation, but does for incitement or spreading disinformation, which carry prison sentences of up to three years. Judges also can order fines, which may lead to jail time if not paid. The constitution requires that free speech not adversely affect public security.

The constitution declares that the king is "inviolable," and a Ministry of Interior directive conforming to the defamation law reiterates these limits and prohibits publishers and editors from disseminating stories that insult or defame government leaders and institutions. The continued criminalization of defamation and disinformation and a broad interpretation of criminal incitement constrains freedom of expression.

The law provides for the privacy of residence and correspondence and prohibits illegal searches; however, NGOs report that police routinely conduct searches and seizures without warrants.

Corruption remains pervasive and governmental human rights bodies are generally ineffective. A weak judiciary that sometimes fails to provide due process or fair trial procedures is a serious problem. The courts lack human and financial resources and, as a result, are not truly independent and are subject to corruption and political influence.

On 17 February 2021, the Cambodian government announced its plans to launch a censorship scheme called "National Internet Gateway" which heavily resembles China's Great Firewall. It was launched in February 2022.

Television censorship[]

Video game censorship[]

External links[]

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