Information and Broadcasting Director-General Phos Sovann addresses the media in Phnom Penh (Photo: www.phnompenhpost.com)

Phnom Penh (VNA) – The Cambodian Government began to take action on July 5 against “fake news” on websites and social media platforms deemed to be undermining national security.

Senior officials from the Ministry of Interior (MoIt), the Ministry of Telecommunications (MoT), and the Ministry of Information (MoIf) on July 4 inked a joint directive to combat the spread of fake news on social media platforms.

Phos Sovann, Director-General of the General Department of Information and Broadcasting at the Cambodian MoIf, said that the ministry has been preparing for a long time and has provided ample time for relevant ministries to review cases.

He urged all websites to register with the Ministry of Information and added that any website that failed to register is subject to scrutiny.

As the country’s National Assembly election is due to take place on July 29, all media agencies are advised to respect the principles set by the National Election Committee.

In May, the first inter-ministerial directive signed by Minister of Interior Sar Kheng revealed that the MoIt, the MoT, and the MoIf were aiming to control the flow of information in broadcasts, messages, audio clips, images, and videos on websites and social media.

The directive is intended to block any media that intends to provoke, create chaos, damage national defence and security, incite discrimination, or affect national customs and culture.

The directive also ordered the three ministries to assign specialised staff to monitor, scrutinise, and observe media.

However, a spokesperson for the Telecommunications Regulator of Cambodia said that the government could only control the flow of information on domain names that end with “kh” as it has no jurisdiction over websites that end in “coms” and “orgs”.

Director of the Broadcasting Department at the MoIf San Putheary said that a total of 216 websites have registered. He added that anyone found guilty of sharing false information could face imprisonment for up to two years with fines up to 1,000 USD. -VNA