Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Cambodia Cracks Down on Pornography

BY BUTH REAKSMEY KONGKEA

The Cambodian Red Cross President and Honorary President of the National Committee for Social Morality, Women’s Values and Khmer Family Values, Bun Rany Hun Sen, has appealed to relevant authorities to take action in combating pornography. Recently, the production of this material has been on the increase in Phnom Penh.

The President Bun Rany said that inappropriate movies were show regularly in private coffee shops across the nation, in addition to the pictures that have been published in magazines for sale nationwide.

“Pornography is a contributing factor in cases of rape and trafficking and this is especially infuriating when the victims are children,” she said during opening remarks delivered to the National Committee’s Annual Congress on February 16 in Phnom Penh.

The President said pornography is also spread across the country via mobile phones. She said these activities should be eradicated as they undermine Khmer culture and traditions and create an environment within which rape and human trafficking flourishes.

“In cases where male relatives abuse the children under their care, the abusers have generally been exposed to pornographic material at coffee shops prior to the crime. To save our women, our children and our culture, we have to address this matter seriously,” she said.

The President pointed out that in recent years rape has been on the increase in Cambodia with many of the victims being murdered. The president pointed to this as an illustration of the decline in Cambodia’s sense of social morality.

“I appeal to all competent authorities involved to cooperate in taking strict measures and actions to crack down on the spread of pornography in Cambodia,” she said. “I also appeal specifically to the Ministry of Information to take action against the pornographic magazines which continue to be published in Cambodia,” she added.

Ing Kantha Phavi, Minister of Women’s Affairs strongly supported the President’s comments, adding that according to Ministry research conducted in 2008, these crimes had increased.

The Minister agreed that responsibility for the prevalence of rape in Cambodia rested in large part with the pornography industry. She said that to address the issue, the Ministry of Wowen’s Affairs, in collaboration with the Ministry of Post and Telecommunications, had closed 36 pornographic websites.

“I think pornography undermines the honor and integrity of Cambodian women and society. We will not allow pornographic websites to continue and we will take action to protect and preserve Cambodian women’s reputation and social morality,” she told the Cambodia Weekly by telephone February 17.

The Minister said that the Ministry of Women’s Affairs and the Ministry of Post and Telecommunications are going to identify other offensive websites and close them down.

Khieu Kanharith, Minister of Information and also Spokesman for the Royal Government of Cambodia, supports Bun Rany Hun Sen’s appeal and has recently invited publishers of the “Khmer Samey Thmey” (Khmer New Era) to provide advice as the questionable articles and pornographic pictures have been displayed in every publication thus far.

The Minister continued that last year, his ministry invited many local magazine publishers and editor-in-chief to meetings, advising them against publishing immoral material.

The Ministry also issued regulations to the state and private television, demanding strict monitoring of their programming to ensure demure costumes on air.

Him Chhem, Minister for Culture and Fine Arts, said that he, in conjunction with the Ministry of Interior, will confiscate pornographic DVDs wherever they are found.

So far, the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts (MoCFA), in collaboration with the Ministry of Interior (MoI) has confiscated a total of 86, 323 DVDs of a pornographic nature, according to a report released by Him Chhem.

The Minister said these DVDs were seized in nine provinces including Phnom Penh, Rattanakiri, Mondulkiri, Stung Treng, Banteay Meanchey, Battambang, Pailin, Prey Veng, Kampong Chhnang and Kandal.

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