Personal Democracy Plus Our premium content network. LEARN MORE You are not logged in. LOG IN NOW >

Cambodia Could Worsen Its Digital Divide By Banning Internet Cafés Near Schools

BY Julia Wetherell | Friday, December 21 2012

An order from the Cambodian government to keep students out of Internet cafés could spell inaccessibility for many in a country where few have personal computers. If implemented, the proposed order will force Internet cafés with 500 meters of schools to close. As human rights group LICADHO reported, this would effectively shut down public Internet availability in downtown Phnom Penh.

“This heavy-handed effort to shut down affordable and accessible venues for using the Internet in Cambodia is not only legally unfounded, it is a transparent attempt to block part of the population’s access to independent sources of information through news sites and social media,” said LICADHO Director Naly Pilorge.

While Internet use in Cambodia is on the rise, a severe lack of infrastructure has stunted online access, with only 0.5 percent of the population regularly going online as of 2009. The country was only beginning to develop telecommunications systems when the Khmer Rouge came to power in the 1970s, bringing rampant destruction and social upheaval. Most reconstruction projects did not begin until the 1990s. The directive issued by the Cambodian government cites pornography, crime, and online gaming as social issues engendered by Internet use.

The proposed ban could worsen an all-too-present digital gap in Cambodia.

Personal Democracy Media is grateful to the Omidyar Network for its generous support of techPresident's WeGov section.

News Briefs

RSS Feed today >

First POST: Scotched

Why conservatives should back net neutrality; how big data may damage civil rights; the ways Silicon Valley start-ups are exploiting freelance workers; and much, much more. GO

thursday >

First POST: Resets

Apple's new iOS8 promises greater user privacy; Occupy Wall Street three years later; how tech may tilt the Scotland independence vote; and much, much more. GO

wednesday >

First POST: Connecting the Dots

Take Back the Tech grades Facebook, Twitter, et al, on transparency; MayDay PAC founder Lawrence Lessig talks about getting matched funds; and much, much more. GO

tuesday >

First POST: Splits

USA Freedom Act divides Internet activists; Julian Assange's Reddit "Ask Me Anything"; New York's pro-net-neutrality protest; and much, much more GO

monday >

After Election Loss, Teachout and Wu Keep Up Net Neutrality and Anti-Comcast Merger Campaign

The Teachout/Wu campaign may have lost, but their pro net-neutrality campaign continued Monday as both former candidates participated in a rallly in New York City marking the final day to comment on the Federal Communications Commission's Internet proposals and kept up their pressure on Governor Andrew Cuomo. GO

More