Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen pledged that the new information law would be passed in 2021, with a draft finalised in August 2021. However, this draft has not yet been sent to parliament.
The Access to Information Law will allow the public to view government records and documents, allowing citizens to make informed decisions and journalists to gain legitimate access to government records for their reporting.
Civil society groups in the country sent a letter to the Prime Minister, calling for the legislative process to be expedited. The groups also urged the government to listen to their suggestions to revise eight articles, including one to protect whistleblowers.
In 2021, the government and a working group edited the draft legislation, with some revisions made, particularly to the chapter on punishment provisions. The changes have also been made to adjust the bill to the socio-cultural context of Cambodia.
CamboJA said: “Access to Information law is a strong demand to support the democratic society and to gear up the roles of professional journalists, especially during the pandemic and the digital pollution by disinformation and misinformation.”
The IFJ said: “Access to government records is essential for journalists to gather information and play their role as a watchdog of the government. The IFJ urges Cambodia’s government to expedite the legislation of the Access to Information Law.”