Review of information law to be completed by month’s end

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Ministry of Information spokesman Phos Sovann attends a workshop on News Reporting with Professionalism and Code of Ethics. FRESH NEWS

The ministries of Information, and Justice, will complete reviewing the penalties section of the draft law on access to information by the end of this month at the latest.

Once the section is finalised, it will be submitted to the Council of Ministers early next month for review and submission to the National Assembly for approval.

Ministry of Information spokesman Phos Sovann said this at a workshop on News Reporting with Professionalism and Code of Ethics attended by some 300 journalists on Wednesday.

“Importantly, Samdech [Prime Minister Hun Sen] told the Ministry of Information to speed up finalisation of the law on access to information.

“On Tuesday, we got the draft law reviewed by the Ministry of Justice and saw it as positive. The ministry’s working group said it could be completed on Wednesday at the ministry level,” said Phos Sovann, who is also the ministry’s information and audiovisual deputy director-general.

“It’s good if we can finish drafting the law on access to information at the Ministry of Justice on Wednesday, or the latest, by the end of this month.

“In March, the draft could be submitted to the Council of Ministers. It is a very quick step,” he said.

Sovann said if the work on the draft law is completed, the Ministry of Information will turn its attention to preparing amendments to the press law which was enacted in 1995.

Ministry of Justice spokesman Chin Malin said on Wednesday that it is working with the Ministry of Information. He said his ministry focused only on the legal section related to penalties.

“The Ministry of Justice reviewed only the relevant sections and it did not take long to review the penalties,” he said.

The draft law comprises nine chapters and 38 articles prepared by the Ministry of Information with the participation of civil society organisation representatives, Unesco, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in Cambodia, and Club of Cambodian Journalists.

It has taken many years to draft under the auspices of Unesco. And the government tasked the Ministry of Information in November 2013 to lead a consultative forum with journalists, civil society organisations, and relevant ministries to draft it.

Cambodia has currently registered 800 printed media organisations, 70 online publications, 22 television stations, and 330 radio stations, said the ministry of foreign affairs statement on Wednesday.