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Who is responsible for Media Regulation?

There are two Ministries involved in media regulation: the Ministry of Information regarding information and content; the Ministry of Post and Telecommunication (based on an executive order) regarding technical infrastructures. The Telecommunication Regulator of Cambodia was established by the Royal Decree No. នស/រកម/1215/017 dated 17 December 2015 which declared the Law on Telecommunications, and Sub Decree No. 45 អនក្រ.បក. dated 16 March 2016 regarding the organization and operation of the Telecommunication Regulator of Cambodia.

Ministry of Information

The Ministry of Information was established in 1996. However, its roles and functions were only defined in 1999 (LINK to Legal assessment, 2015) The current Minister of Information, Khieu Kanharith, has been in office since 2004. The MoI duties comprise the allocating/ renewing of licenses (print, broadcast), controlling of broadcasting companies as well as of information published in newspapers, magazines and electronic media.

This ministry has two levels of divisions - central and local divisions. Its central division is again organized in 7 departments. The state media is directly located in the central division of the MoI:

  • Agence Kampuchea Presse (AKP) - Khmer Press Agency: State press agency. Tasks: collect, disseminate and broadcast information in country and abroad through magazines, newspaper, bulletins, books, document both in printing and electronic etc. It is mainly covering the government activities and its highest officials’ meetings and trips.
  • National Radio of Kampuchea (RNK): State radio. Tasks: broadcast information daily in both local and foreign language, including other entertainment programs in AM, FM and SW frequency. It has 12 provincial radio stations in the country and two in Phnom Penh. However, its popularity is very small (CMRD, 2015)
  • Television of Kampuchea (TVK): State Television Station. Task: broadcast news in country and abroad. Not among the relevant media in Cambodia for this study.

Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications

The Ministry of Posts and Telecommunication was established in 1996. Over the years, a several sub-decrees have changed its structure and responsibilities – especially related to telecommunications regulations. The current Minister for Post and Telecommunication is Prak Sokhoonn, who has been serving as such since 2013. The Ministry is responsible for the management of the post, telecommunication and ICT sectors and for the establishment of a reliable and secure technical infrastructure. As such, it holds jurisdiction for all telecommunication operators and Internet Service Providers (ISPs).

Telecommunication Regulator

With the appearance of news players on the telecommunication landscape, the Cambodian Government established the Telecommunication Regulator of Cambodia on March 1st, 2012. As an independent authority, its missions were:

  • to be sensitive to the needs of consumers, operators, service providers and suppliers;
  • to be responsive to the policy initiatives of Royal Government to generate growth on ICT, social and economic benefits;
  • to improve Cambodia’s position in the worldwide ICT market,
  • to stimulate a policy environment with fairness and transparency, strengthening the sector and encouraging a fair competition.

However, it lacked the authority to control content and to give penalties.

New Telecommunication Regulator Law in 2015

In October 2015, the Government has passed a draft of law on Telecom Regulator. In general, its structure remains the same.[1] The Draft Law changes and clarifies, however, the roles and powers of the institution. The major changes will include:

  • It will be upgraded to a statutory institution (created by statute law) that has more power to intervene in cases of legal infringements by telecom operators. But it still has only the competency to control electronic media.
  • While until now, the Regulator implements the telecom policies set by the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunication, it will obtain competencies to set plans and strategies to control and improve telecommunication by its own.
  • It will have licensing competencies: transferring rights on telecom licenses, inheritance, merging telecom companies will require a reapplication to the Telecom Regulators for approval.
  • It will have the power to investigate illegal business against code of conduct, cheating technology, service quality and illegal imported telecom equipment which abusing law on telecom regulator and other relevant laws. According to the Draft of Law on Telecom Regulators, there are 31 offenses (from Article 77 to 108). The punishment will reach from administrative fines/ sanctions to 20 years of imprisonment.
  • It will have the competencies to interfere and settle the disputes between telecom operators.

[1] In English, even the name does not change. In Khmer, the name will change but keep its meaning (Panhatakor Tourkakmoneakum will change to Niyatakor Torkakmoneakum).