Drink coffee. Talk politics. Blog opinions

Debate

ការប្រើប្រាស់បណ្តាញសង្គម ធ្វើឱ្យយើងបង្កើនចំណេះដឹងផ្នែកព័ត៌មាន (#អក្ខរកម្មព័ត៌មាន)

ជម្រាបសួរប្រិយមិត្តកាហ្វេនយោបាយ និង​ជនរួមជាតិជាទីស្រលាញ់រាប់អាន។ សូមស្វាគមន៍មកកាន់វេទិកាតទល់មតិរបស់យើងទាំងអស់គ្នាសាជាថ្មីម្តងទៀត។ បច្ចេកវិទ្យាបានធ្វើឱ្យទំនាក់ទំនងមានភាពងាយស្រួល និងរហ័សទាន់ចិត្ត។ ទន្ទឹមនឹងនេះដែរ  បណ្តាញ​សង្គមបានក្លាយជាផ្នែកមួយដ៏សំខាន់ដែល​ធ្វើឱ្យការ​ទំនាក់ទំនង ទទួល និង​ចែក​រំលែក​ព័ត៌មាន កាន់តែមានងាយ​ស្រួលមួយកម្រិត​ទៀត សម្រាប់​ជីវិត​ប្រចាំថ្ងៃ​របស់​ប្រជាជន​កម្ពុជា ក៏ដូចមនុស្សជុំវិញពិភពលោក។ នាឆ្នាំ២០២២នេះ កម្ពុជាមានអ្នកប្រើប្រាស់អ៊ីនធឺណិតប្រហែល ១៧.៧ លាននាក់ (ម្នាក់​អាច​ប្រើ​ឧបករណ៍​ច្រើនជាងមួយ) នេះបើយោងតាមនិយតករទូរគមនាគមន៍កម្ពុជា។ សម្រាប់​​អ្នក​ប្រើប្រាស់​បណ្តាញសង្គម ចំនួនអ្នកប្រើប្រាស់ហ្វេសប៊ុកនៅប្រទេសកម្ពុជានៅឆ្នាំ២០២២នេះ មាន​១១លាន៦ គណនី ( ម្នាក់​អាច​ប្រើ​​ច្រើនជាងមួយគណនី) យោងតាមរបាយការណ៍របស់ Datareportal។ ចំនួន​អ្នក​ប្រើប្រាស់​TikTokនៅកម្ពុជា មានចំនួន ៦,៦៨លានគណនី (ម្នាក់​អាច​ប្រើ​ច្រើនជាងមួយគណនី)  នៅឆ្នាំ២០២២ (រាប់ចាប់ពីអាយុ១៨ ឆ្នាំ​ឡើង​ទៅ)។ ការសិក្សាស្រាវជ្រាវ (Human-Centred Design Methods) របស់ Sour Mouy​នៅ​ចុង​ឆ្នាំ២០២១​ បានឱ្យដឹងថា យុវជន​ជនបទ​ជា​មធ្យម​ចំណាយ​ពេល​ប្រើប្រាស់​បណ្តាញ​សង្គម​ប្រមាណ​ជា ៤ម៉ោង ៤០នាទី (Facebook: 3h40m; TikTok: 25m; Youtube 25m; Instagram: 20m)។ ដោយមានការសហការជាមួយ​វេទិកាសួរ​មួយ  ដែល​កំពុង​រៀបចំ​យុទ្ធនាការ​អក្ខរកម្ម ឌីជីថល ក្នុង​គោលបំណងបង្កើនសមត្ថភាពការគិតស៊ីជម្រៅ និង​ការកំណត់​​ប្រភព​​ព័ត៌មាន​ដែល​គួរ​ឱ្យ​ទុក​ចិត្ត ដើម្បីធ្វើ​សេចក្តី​​សម្រេច​ចិត្ត​ឱ្យ​បាន​ត្រឹមត្រូវក្នុង​រយៈពេល​វែង។ ដូច្នេះហើយប្រធានបទនៃការ​តទល់​មតិ​លើកនេះគឺ «តើការប្រើប្រាស់បណ្តាញសង្គម ធ្វើឱ្យ​យើង​បង្កើនចំណេះដឹង​ផ្នែ​កព័ត៌មាន (#អក្ខរកម្មព័ត៌មាន) ឬយ៉ាងណា?» យោងតាមអង្គការយូណេស្កូ៖ អក្ខរកម្មព័ត៌មាននិងប្រព័ន្ធ ផ្សព្វផ្សាយ ត្រូវ​បាន​កំណត់​ថា ជា​ចំណេះ​ដឹង និង​ជំនាញ​ដែល​ត្រូវការ​ ដើ​ម្បី​ស្វែងរក​ការ​វិភាគ វាយតម្លៃស៊ីជម្រៅ និង​បង្កើត​ព័ត៌មាន​នៅ​ក្នុង​ប្រព័ន្ធផ្សព្វផ្សាយ និងបរិបទផ្សេងៗ។​​ វាជួយអ្នកប្រើប្រាស់​ឱ្យធ្វើការ ជ្រើស​រើស​ត្រូវ​អំពី​របៀប​ដែលពួកគេចូលរួមក្នុងការកសាងសន្តិភាព សមភាព សេរីភាព​នៃ​ការបញ្ចេញ​មតិ ការសន្ទនា ការទទួលបានព័ត៌មាន និងការអភិវឌ្ឍ​ប្រកប​ដោយ​ចីរភាព។ វេទិកា​តទល់មតិលើកនេះ យើងមាន លោក​ លី ជិងគួយ ខាងមតិស្រប និងកញ្ញា ហេង សុជា​ ខាង​មតិបដិ​សេធ។ ពួកគេ​ម្នាក់ៗ​​ជ្រើសរើស​យកទឡ្ហីករណ៍​ចំនួន៣​​យក​មក​បកស្រាយ។ គោល​បំណង​នៃ​ការតទល់មតិ​នេះ​ គឺដើម្បីលើកកម្ពស់​វប្បធម៌សន្ទនា​ប្រជាធិបតេយ្យ​ក្នុង​ចំណោមយុ​វជននៅកម្ពុជា។ ដោយសារតែអ្នកទាំងអស់គ្នាអាចបោះឆ្នោត​​បានតែម្ដងប៉ុណ្ណោះ ដោយប្រើប្រា​ស់​គណនី​ហ្វេស​ប៊ុក ដូច្នេះ​​សូមអានការដេញដោលមតិនេះឲ្យបានល្អិតល្អន់ជាមុនសិន ​មុន​នឹង​បោះឆ្នោត​​ឱ្យ​បេក្ខជន​របស់​យើង។​ ក្រុមកាហ្វេនយោបាយ​ និង​វេទិកា​សួរមួយ មិនមានសិទ្ធិ និងមិនអាចដឹងបានទេ​ថា អ្នកណា​បាន​បោះឆ្នោត​ឱ្យ​​បេក្ខជន​មួយណា។​ រាល់ការបោះឆ្នោតគឺសម្ងាត់ រយ:ពេលនៃការបោះឆ្នោត​គឺពីរសប្ដាហ៍ ហើយអ្នកដែលទទួលបានភាគរយច្រើនជាង​គេ​គឺជា​អ្នកឈ្នះ។ បងប្អូនប្រិយមិត្តជនរួមជាតិទាំងអស់អាចចូលរួម​បញ្ចេញ​មតិ​យោបល់​ទៅ​លើ​ការដេញ​ដោល​នេះ​នៅ​ខាងក្រោម​បាន!

koffee

How Should Cambodia Respond to the Pressure from the West?

Written by: Vong Promnea, A Fresh Graduate with a Bachelor’s Degree in International Relations from the Royal University of Phnom Penh Edited by: Dr. Heng Kimkong, Co-founder and Editor-in-Chief of the Cambodian Education Forum and Visiting Senior Research Fellow at the Cambodia Development Center (Photo Credit: Facebook Page of Samdech Hun Sen, Cambodia Prime Minister)   Background  Until now, Cambodia has experienced pressure from Western countries for more than two years already regarding its latest development of human rights. Western countries have been using trade and economic sanctions as a means to require Cambodia to improve human rights. Two of the sanctions are the withdrawal of the Everything But Arms (EBA) of the European Union (EU) and the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) of the United States (US). Although they share similar aims to promote liberal democracy, these two tools are completely different in terms of their origins.  Since 2001, the EBA, one of the three branches of the Generalized System of Preference (GSP) of the EU, has been applied to the least developed countries (LDCs) to allow them access to the full duty-free and quota-free EU market for all products except weapons and armaments. Cambodia, as one of the LDCs, has gained substantial benefits from the EBA scheme for its economic development since 2003. Unfortunately, on 12 August 2020, the partial and temporary withdrawal of EBA from Cambodia became effective. This decision was triggered by “serious and systematic violations” of the core human rights in Cambodia including rights to political participation, freedom of expression, freedom of association and assembly, land rights, and labor rights.  The GSP of the US, on the other hand, expired on 31 December 2020. As of now, it has yet to be renewed by the US Congress and inevitably impacts Cambodia’s exports to the US as it is now subject to “most favored nation” status tariffs. In other words, Cambodia can no longer enjoy tariff reductions and exemptions on its exports to the US that it has received since 1997. The pending status of the renewal of GSP resulted from the call by two US lawmakers through their Cambodia Trade Act (CTA) in 2019 to review Cambodia’s eligibility. The renewal depends largely on the commitment of Cambodia to strengthen human rights and promote democracy.  EBA and GSP as human right conditions  This economic leverage has not only been utilized in Cambodia, but also applied to other developing countries across the world if the “serious and systematic violations” of human rights under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) are found. Basically, the “Enabling Clause” of the World Trade Organization (WTO) has allowed developed countries including the US and EU to grant GSP to LDCs or developing countries, and thus be eligible to put pressure on them. Research has shown that material capacity of great power, known as conventional approach, may facilitate the spread of new norms and promotion of international cooperation.  What makes the GSP of the US and the EBA of the EU different from others, noticeably that of China which is the major competitor of Western countries, is their connection with respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, sometimes known as “trade-human rights”. They allow the US and EU to link the GSP with human rights conditions and sometimes use restrictive conditions to link business objectives with political interests. Kimberly Ann Elliot, one of the economists interested in economic sanctions, pointed out that the motives behind the use of sanctions aligned with the three basic objectives of national criminal law: to punish, to deter, and to rehabilitate. The inconsistency of the Cambodian government   The decision of the EU and US to impose trade and economic sanctions on Cambodia was inspired by their views that Phnom Penh would restore its current situation of human rights. However, the Cambodian government has not made a significant improvement to these issues, especially since the partial withdrawal of EBA on 12 August 2020. In terms of political discourse, Prime Minister Hun Sen has repeatedly claimed that the US and EU have used EBA and GSP to serve their political ambitions and use the human rights issue as a pretext for interfering in internal affairs and thus violating the sovereignty and independence of Cambodia that should be respected under the UN Charter.  In addition, rather than finding solutions, Cambodia continues its actions that are considered as attributions to the recent development of human rights. For instance, in the latest report of the Cambodian Center for Human Rights (CCHR), the space to exercise fundamental freedoms in 2021 was still limited. CCHR used freedom of expression, freedom of association, and freedom of assembly as indicators to measure the progress, which are almost consistent with the core human rights needed to be restored in Cambodia. In this regard, the report demonstrates the unwillingness of the government to reconsider that pressure and especially the action plans that were proposed by the EU and the US.  The consequences of the sanctions  The reluctance of the Cambodian government to lessen human rights problems has not only worsened the consequences of EBA withdrawal and the pending status of GSP, but also impacted diplomatic relations with the West. Most people believe that Cambodia would experience a serious economic crisis in many industries and thus could directly affect its average growth rate. For instance, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) projected in late 2019 that the withdrawal of EBA would lead to a 3 percentage point decline in the growth of Cambodia’s GDP (Gross Domestic Product). This does not account for indirect effects, which may be substantial. These preferences are crucial to Cambodia because they have enabled the country to benefit from competitive advantage, promote economic development, and create employment opportunities.  The projection has been correctly proven as the GDP growth of Cambodia has declined from 7.1% in 2019 to 3% in 2021, although it has been coupled with the impact of COVID-19 pandemic. Based on the report of the World Bank in 2022, it is found that the export of Cambodia to the EU market declined from 28.1% in 2019 to 19.2% in 2022, partly due to the partial withdrawal of EBA. Furthermore, at the same period when the GSP of the US for Cambodia also expired, Cambodia’s exports to the US have increased from 27.6% to 44.7%. However, it has not come without costs. Cambodia has faced the tariffs imposed by both the EU and US that could impact the revenue, in addition to its consequences for the employment sector.  The alternatives that have been defended by the Cambodian government, for example, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) and Cambodia-China Free Trade Agreement (CCFTA), would not substitute the benefits that Cambodia has enjoyed under the EBA and GSP preferences especially in the short run. Moreover, Cambodia is losing its international legitimacy as a result of this serious and systematic violation of human rights. Nonetheless, these are not including the uncertainty of the future and the closer monitoring of the EU that can lead to the full withdrawal of the EBA.  What should be done?  In light of these consequences, it is necessary for Cambodia to address issues of core human rights that are crucial not only for realizing human rights – one of the core missions of the Cambodian government, but also for restoring the GSP schemes of the EU and US.  Firstly, the Cambodian government as the duty-bearer should firmly tackle     unresolved and ongoing disputes caused by the ineffective implementation of human rights. An integrative approach should be an option so that all parties can mutually benefit from the settlement.  Secondly, laws or regulations that restrict exercises of fundamental freedoms should be reversed and refrained from enacting. Otherwise, Cambodia would lose the dynamics of such exercises essentially from Cambodian youth.  Lastly, politicians of Cambodia should not perceive the motives of trade and economic sanctions as a Western way of modern imperialism, yet as a loophole of democratization that needed to be closed by collaborating constructively with relevant stakeholders.    * This blog is produced with the financial support from the European Union and The Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency through Transparency International Cambodia and ActionAid Cambodia. Its contents do not reflect the views of any donors. 

Politik

Why Should We Normalize Political Discussion?

Written By: Samoeurth Seavmeng, 3rd Generation Leader of Politikoffee Edited by: Heng Kimkong, a Visiting Senior Research Fellow at Cambodia Development Center and a PhD Candidate in Education at The University of Queensland, Australia Photo Credit: Politikoffee Some of us have probably been told by our parents since we were children not to talk about politics. When we go to school, we are prohibited from discussing it with our classmates and teachers. After we graduate and get a job, we might get fired if we discuss politics in the office. For some people, in their entire lives, they might have never experienced talking about politics with their friends or acquaintances. In Cambodia, besides our socially accepted norms portraying politics as neither safe nor useful, our country bans political discussion among students and teachers. The numerous arrests and imprisonment of political activists and former CNRP members have made this practice worse. In this context, I believe the forbiddance and arrests have affected the mindset of every Cambodian citizen. Public discussions on topics such as Cambodian elections, corruption, governance, politics and public service delivery have been conducted by very few organizations in Cambodia for the public to join. When the discussions are conducted, the discussants generally would not dare to get deep into those sensitive issues. Some even censor themselves. These raise a few important questions: Why is talking politics not a habit among many Cambodian people? Why is politics considered a sensitive topic? What are the benefits if we discuss politics? The word discussion means exchanging ideas or views with other people or giving opinions on certain issues. Therefore, a political discussion means exchanging your ideas and opinions about politics. This does not necessarily mean attacking, criticizing or going against any individual or group of people. Having dialogues or discussions about politics with friends does not mean we have to be deeply involved in politics. Beneficially, political discussion helps increase our critical thinking skills and knowledge about our nation’s social and political affairs. It makes us become informed citizens. Once we have the knowledge of those issues and keep ourselves updated about their happenings, we can potentially keep politicians accountable for their actions. The more we know about politicians, the more they become more responsible Some people categorize politicians as “cheaters’’. We might often hear people say, “Politics is Cheating”. That is why people hate politics. Consequently, it makes politics too bad and even unbearable to discuss. Politicians could behave irresponsibly because they probably think we are politically illiterate. We do not have any ideas about what is going on, and especially we do not have an opinion about their actions. Not all politicians are bad, though. Politicians can also do good goods and we have many good politicians as well. For example, the global movement to end discrimination against women and LGTIQ+ people, the legality of same-sex marriages in some countries, and the campaigns to end gender inequality are some good things that politicians have done to make their society and the world a better place. It is important to understand that we all have the power to make them do that if we work together. When we become politically literate, more or less, politicians will become more accountable for their actions. It is because they know we have our eyes on them, and we know what they are up to. When politicians are elected to lead the country, they pledge to serve our national interests, not themselves. They are obliged to make good policies to serve us, address social problems and develop the country sustainably and inclusively. Social problems such as flooding, gang-rapes, traffic jams, unaffordable housing, and high price of petrol are all in the hands of politicians. They have the power to address all these issues. They have the power to influence private companies and other stakeholders to solve all these problems. As stated in the Oxford Handbook of Political Communication “Through political discussions, citizens’ opinions and perspectives are represented in their government, and in turn their government is more responsive to its citizens.” However, if we do not know our country’s political system and governance and policies and priorities of major political parties, it is hard for us to track politicians’ actions and keep them accountable. In contrast, if we know those affairs well and we keep ourselves updated about their actions, politicians will be more careful with every move they make. They are aware that we are checking their election campaign promises. We are informed and responsible citizens. We let them know that we have the power to elect them and we also have the power to vote them out of office. We need to let them know that we care about our country’s affairs just as much as they probably do. Political discussion may also make people become closer with one another and create a culture of sharing knowledge amongst peers with peers, colleagues with colleagues and family members and family members. They will become more understandable, open-minded and tolerant. As a result, it will reduce tension, conflict and misunderstanding. Ultimately, we will create a peaceful society where people do not get angry easily and are willing to have frank discussions to find solutions instead of coloring each other or getting into fights. We will also stop labelling people who do not have the same political beliefs or ideology as our enemies. Moreover, sharing knowledge about sociopolitical issues with colleagues can perhaps make the office environment more enjoyable and less stressful. Together for a politically literate society We are now more informed of what is happening in our country. Nevertheless, when it comes to politics, I believe we are still afraid to discuss it with our friends, colleagues and relatives to avoid “conflict” which potentially harms our friendships, professional networks and family bonds. Want it or not, our daily life cannot be separated from politics, thereby requiring our attention and participation. The importance of political discussion at the workplace:​​ The purpose of discussing politics is not to cause conflicts or misunderstanding. It is to exchange ideas, information and opinions on political issues affecting our country. It is also to ease possible tensions and misunderstanding. Some people working in administration, finance and business, for example, might not keep themselves updated with the country’s status quo. They probably think it is not relevant to their work. However, the issues such as gang-rapes, traffic jams, flooding, unaffordable housing, high price of petrol have significant impacts on their lives. Therefore, having colleagues who are knowledgeable about social and political affairs could help them be informed and take appropriate actions if required. We need a majority of us to voice our concerns, from everyone and from every sector. Once our voices are heard, it is hard for them to ignore. Increasing political literacy in our society: Everyone should be able to talk about politics in public and private places. Those who do not work at offices can discuss with their peers and learn more from better informed friends. This does not necessarily mean we should discuss it all the time. We can do it when it is the right time. For example, we can engage in political discussion when there are concerns about social problems that are left unaddressed by politicians. I believe that when a culture of discussion becomes normal in our society and when everyone is aware of our country’s affairs, politicians cannot escape from their duties. Creating a good habit for the next generation Children impersonate their parents and people around them quickly, and adolescents look up to their seniors and surroundings. Accordingly, if we want the next generation to pay more attention to issues affecting their lives, we need to start normalizing political discussion from now on. Political talks with parents and relatives help to broaden knowledge and increase critical thinking for youth who will obtain crucial knowledge of their country’s affairs and politicians who lead their nation. This makes them familiar with politics and will not get easily influenced by anyone. I believe many young people are told by their parents to vote for a political party, which they probably have no idea what the party’s policy is about. Some do not care and just follow their peers or neighbors when it comes to voting. Our future will become more complicated with the rise of advanced technology, artificial intelligence, vicious diseases and uncontrollable climate change. Hence, we need informed, responsible and politically-minded people who could deal with those issues wholeheartedly. We cannot let private companies create policies for us. Regular political discussion is significant because it will result in better informed citizens who will be able to hold politicians accountable. More importantly, the next generation of Cambodians will become highly innovative politicians and policymakers who will be able to initiate important policies for Cambodia. Thus, normalizing political discussion is extremely crucial for Cambodian society. Not only does it give benefits to the Cambodian citizens to keep politicians accountable, but it could also transform the society to be a politically literate one. Suggestions I believe if we normalize political discussion, it will help improve the current and future landscape of politics in Cambodia. The world is rapidly changing; therefore, we need more innovative politicians and policymakers to enhance Cambodia’s competitiveness on the global stage. Normalizing political discussion is a great start. However, achieving it is not easy and it will take time and commitment. Therefore, in order to create an open political discussion environment in our society, we need active participation from everyone. First, we should try to know more about our duties in participating in politics and civic engagement. We should not consider politics as something only for politicians. Cambodia is our country so it is essential that we contribute to developing and improving it. Second, those who are more knowledgeable of sociopolitical affairs should share with the ones who know less about political issues. They should try to share with other people to make them well-informed of social and political issues impacting the country. Not everyone has the privilege to learn and keep themselves updated with important status quo. This action will also strengthen civic and political engagement of Cambodian citizens. “Sharing is Caring” is not only caring about other people but we care about our country’s affairs as well. Third, young people will inherit everything from the current politicians and leaders. It is crucial for them to participate in their country’s political affairs and development. Youth should start discussing politics more often with peers and do it as much as they can. Once they are able to do it, the next generation will follow suit. Consequently, they will be able to join in directing the country in the way they want it to be. Finally, the Cambodian government plays the most significant role to empower and promote political discussion. It should encourage the citizens to talk more about it rather than prohibit it. When the citizens become political-literate, they will help in providing valuable input that politicians need to lead the country to achieve sustainable development, prosperity and greatness.

Politik

Cambodia Needs a New Political Culture. So, What Should It Be? 

Written by: Han Noy, a 2rd-year student majoring in International Relations at Paññāsāstra University of Cambodia. Edited by: Sao Phal Niseiy, Editor-in-Chief at The Cambodianess and Deputy Editor-in-Chief at Thmey Thmey News Photo Credit:  Happystock/Fotolia Cambodia used to be one of the greatest empires in Asia during its peak from the 11th to 13th century. Its territory roughly covered most of the mainland Southeast Asia countries, including now parts of Vietnam, Thailand and Laos. However, this glorious history did not last long. The power of the Khmer Empire swiftly declined by the 14th century, subsequently leading to endless suffering and the deprivation of sovereignty, territory, and independence since then. Based on our historical records, following the fall of the Angkorean era, the country suffered prolonged civil wars and persistent power struggles among our political elites.  More importantly, after regaining the independence from France in 1953, our people highly anticipated that the nation would have lastly lived in harmony, prosperity and peace under the reign of the late King Father Norodom Sihanouk.  It, however, was just a good dream and hope as the coup staged to depose the prince from power in 1970, led by General Lon Nol and Prince Sisowath Siri Matak, drove Cambodia into the Vietnam War. Five years after the coup, Cambodians ended up witnessing the rise to power of the genocidal Khmer Rouge regime, during which there was widespread starvation and ruthless persecution of almost two million innocent Cambodians. After that, Cambodia could not even realize the perpetual peace as war among different political factions persisted along the Thai border until 1997 when there was a national reconciliation and integration.  Currently, Cambodia has finally attained what we call a negative peace—a condition at which war is absent. However, its political landscape remains very tense, conflictual, and polarized. Therefore, this part brought up a question for Cambodians, should the country seek to adopt a new political culture? I raised this question because the current political culture now is ineffective and obsolete, failing to function and respond to the needs of the public amid the fast-changing world. Therefore, I am writing this article to explain why it is requisite for the country to embrace a new political culture.   What is political culture? The term ‘political culture’ commonly refers to the beliefs and views of people of the country toward the political system. It generally consists of political ideals and operating norms of a political apparatus in a country. So, psychological and subjective dimensions of politics are what political culture is about, and political culture can be shaped by both the collective history of a political system and its members. Jürgen R. Winkler (2020) argues that political culture is ‘the shared views and normative judgments’ of people on the political system. He also highlighted that the notion of political culture is not about discussing how people think of political actors such as a president and prime minister, but it mainly focuses on how they contemplate the political system and its legitimacy. Meanwhile, American political scientist Lucian Pye considers that political culture encompasses fundamental values, feelings and knowledge that guide the political process. On the other hand, the study of political culture has also been circulated widely since the establishment of Western democracy. The first classic study of political culture is on ‘The Civic Culture’(1963) by Gabriel Almond and Sydney Verba, both of whom are American political scientists. Almond and Verba explicitly categorized political culture into three pure types such as parochial, subject and participant. In a parochial political culture, people are not allowed to do anything, and they know only about the existence of a central government. Regarding the subject of political culture, citizens are aware of themselves not just as participants but also as a subject of the government. Meanwhile, in the participant political culture, people hold the belief that there is an interconnection between them and the system in which the system can impact them while they also can contribute to it.  In a nutshell, political culture is mainly about the beliefs, opinions and feelings--all of which can shape the political process of a country. Moreover, it also manifests why and how leaders and policymakers behave toward any issues facing them. Proposed new political culture for contemporary Cambodia  Despite our country suffering much in its dark history, we continue to go through a lot of struggles due to the political culture our politicians have chosen to take on. In an exclusive interview with Khmer Times, Preap Kol, former executive director of Transparency International Cambodia, pointed out that our current political culture is risky and could lead to national disunity as it involves making baseless accusations, which he labeled as “coloring culture.”  I concur with what he raised. Also, I recognize that our country is surely in much need of a new political culture. So, in the next part, I am offering some perspectives of the new version of political culture, which I believe fits our current national context.   First, the cultural dialogue needs to be fully espoused by our political elites as it is very essential in contributing to national development​. It is because it allows all parties to put national interests and survival before their interests. Besides, the culture of dialogue helps strengthen the cooperation and promotes national unity among Cambodian citizens in general and political elites in particular. For instance, Cambodian politicians chose to embrace the political dialogue in 2015 following the years-long political deadlock resulting from the controversial election in 2013. During that time, the political atmosphere appeared to be hassle-free. And more importantly, many members of the opposition party were freed from jail. Therefore, we will be able to end and prevent any conflicts and distrust among ourselves by fully adopting the culture of dialogue. It, of course, should be considered as the best option for our new political culture. Second, our country should also seek to build a culture of inclusive political institutions. A nation collapsing or thriving mainly depends on the strength of political institutions. When a country allows the client politics and patronage system to take root, rampant corruption, injustice and struggle for power will continue to subsist, leading to poor governance. Any modern governing system should be constructed on a merit-based system that is full of competent technocrats, not based on political connections.  Furthermore, clientelism will only undermine good democratic practice. It happens since some democratic components such as accountability and transparency will be hindered, while powerful and wealthy people will just use their wealth to buy ballots as they seek to protect their interests while ignoring the interests of the public. Hence, building and fostering the culture of inclusive political institutions are significant for the country's success. As Acemoglu and Robinson single out in their book titled “Why Nations Fail”, the key determinant of why some nations are rich and others are poor is the selection of two types of political institutions, namely inclusive and extractive institutions. Therefore, the institutions we choose will determine the future of our nation.  In conclusion, political culture is indeed our views, beliefs and perceptions towards our political system. More importantly, it also shapes our political behavior because it maps out how people should interact with the government and involve themselves with political affairs.  In the Cambodian context, our political culture is already obsolete, meaning we need to create a new framework of political culture that can guarantee a better future for our nation. As I already suggested earlier, instigating cultural dialogue and erecting inclusive political institutions will be the key to our well-off national development.  However, to make it a reality, all stakeholders should work together to promote the new concept of political culture through mobilizing different approaches. I believe that this new political culture could be made known to the public through education programs, public events and the commemoration of historical events. Once these efforts are made, the spirit of our new political culture will be ultimately attained.  

The Promised Land of Democracy: Cambodia’s Need to Realise Free and Fair Elections

Opinion: Paris Peace Accord Should Move Past Controversy After 30 Years

What should be the proper ways for Cambodian monks to participate in politics?

Should Cambodia Consider Term Limits for Its Prime Ministers?

Koffee

The Cambodian Government's Significant Role in Ending the Dispute between NagaWorld Protestors and the NagaWorld Group

Written by: Phat Malyta, a graduate student with a Bachelor's degree in Business Communication at Paññāsāstra University of Cambodia Edited by: Dr. Heng Kimkong, Co-founder and Editor-in-Chief of the Cambodian Education Forum and Visiting Senior Research Fellow at the Cambodia Development Center (Photo Credit: Cambodian Center for Human Rights) There are many problems in Cambodia, such as deforestation, discrimination, injustice, corruption, and inequality, to name a few. One interesting problem that has been stuck for nearly one year and has yet to be resolved is the dispute between NagaWorld workers and the owner. This issue started because NagaWorld announced plans to cut off 1,329 staff because of the financial crisis resulting from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, a union member at NagaWorld said that the reason was to remove the independent union in the NagaWorld group. Most staff who have been laid off are union leaders, union activists, and staff delegates. NagaWorld workers have protested against the layoff outside the NagaWorld casino since December 1, 2021, asking for the casino corporation in Phnom Penh to reinstate workers after NagaWorld terminated more than 1,300 workers last year. Only around 100 workers are still holding out for reinstatement.  The strike turned violent during the protest In the past, there were many obstacles for workers to protest because the security​ tried to block or arrest them and didn't allow them to gather together by putting up many metal fences​. However, on August 11, 2022, around 100 NagaWorld strikers gathered near the NagaWorld building. During the protest, there were many metal barricades that security personnel put on to block the protestors from going near NagaWorld. The violence happened when the protestors tried to pull the metal barricades away from security personnel. According to Cambodianess, the violence left three women seriously injured, one with a broken nose, and several others slightly injured were sent to get medical treatment. As reported by Licadho, a uniformed officer punched one woman in the face leaving her unconscious and bleeding from the nose. This action violates the labor law's "right to protest" and the collective conventions of the International Labor Organization (ILO).  On August 15, 2022, workers' unions and human rights establishments condemned the government's crackdown on women strikers over disputes between the NagaWorld staff and company. Having launched a joint announcement, 38 unions and civil society organizations condemned the government's brutal crackdown to block people from strikes close to the casino, regardless of the strikers' pleas. They must be allowed to acquire a non-violent call in front of the company, which they stated follows the exertions law. On the contrary, after the ruthless crackdown, a Phnom Penh City Hall spokesman issued an announcement accusing the people of the use of violence in opposition to the government.” It is also noteworthy that the case was improved on August 16, 2022, when the Special Rapporteur of the United Nations on the human rights situation in Cambodia, Professor Vitit Muntarbhorn, visited the NagaWorld protesters. According to RFA, NagaWorld protesters were unexpectedly allowed to go directly in front of the NagaWorld casino for two days on Wednesday, 17 August, and Thursday, 18 August 2022, and the UN Human Rights in Cambodia also monitored the protest on Wednesday, 17 August 2022 and released a video footage on Facebook with a statement confirming that the rally was peaceful.  The Cambodian government's significant role in ending the dispute The most significant role of the government is to provide everyone the right to get equal treatment and the right to advocate without violence and discrimination, especially for women workers, to fulfill their fundamental rights and labor rights. There are two main points that the government can end this dispute peacefully. First, the government must pay additional attention to the protection of protestors instead of attempting to prevent them. For example, the role of the government is to square with the protestors to indicate their temperament to unravel the matter with the owner of NagaWorld. It is also the most effective model for demonstrating good governance for the people in the country. Therefore, the government should guarantee a transparent, accessible, and truthful atmosphere for the protestors in the future. It can be an improved lesson for the government to boost law enforcement​ on human rights and labor rights by standing on the principle of justice while not taking any side.   Second, the Ministry of Labor and Vocational Training​ must urge concerned stakeholders and the owner​of NagaWorld to return to the negotiation table​​ to unravel the matter by citing the need to respect labor law and international legal conventions. The Ministry has full authority to figure out with the owner and a union member of NagaWorld and to check on the policy and how to implement the law at NagaWorld concerning staff’s employment termination. Furthermore, applying for either side with the agreement and a win-win solution will be decent. It also helps each side understand more about the deals the employer or employees might raise throughout the negotiation process​​. If the Ministry can free up more space for people to discuss, debate, and offer solutions, it will improve the situation and create a space for both sides to consider and exchange their views on this issue.  In conclusion, I do believe that nobody can end this mess except the government because it is responsible for enforcing the rules of law in society and providing justice to people within the country by taking a stance with the protestors and ensuring that any violence cannot happen throughout the protests again. Moreover, the government ought to acknowledge the importance of the right of the protestors to advocate for their liberty in the labor law. The Ministry of Labor and Vocational Training​ needs to work with both parties to resolve problems by respecting the labor law and protecting the people's interests. The Ministry needs to make an effort to work in partnership with the union activists as well as the Nagaworld company because this practice can give the government an additional tip, and it can assist the Ministry in grasping the scope of the problem for a much better solution. Finally, the government has to bring a positive impact to resolve this dispute by ensuring that everybody receives justice and respects the law in the country.  * This blog is produced with the financial support from the European Union and The Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency through Transparency International Cambodia and ActionAid Cambodia. Its contents do not reflect the views of any donors. 

Land Privatisation in Cambodia Needs Improvement to Gain Public Acceptance

Why Should Cambodia Rethink Its Migration Policy?

Ineffectiveness of R2P: A nightmare of Myanmar caused by the veto rights of the five permanent members of the Security Council

Why do youths feel digital training seemingly unnecessary?

Podcast

‘I used to talk about politics on Facebook, but now it’s scary’

By Adam Bemma, Alijazeera 23 Aug 2018 Phnom Penh, Cambodia – Samoeurth Seavmeng sits at a conference table wearing black horn-rimmed glasses. Meng – as she’s known online and to friends – glances at her smartphone and begins to speak to 10 other young Cambodians gathered at Politikoffee, a weekly forum held in a leafy diplomatic enclave of the capital Phnom Penh. “It’s very hard to talk about social media. Sometimes people post fake news on Facebook and sometimes people post true news, so it has advantages and disadvantages,” the 22-year-old activist said. Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen often alleges “fake news” to discredit criticism of his ruling Cambodia People’s Party online. He has even threatened that authorities have the technology to track and arrest a Facebook user within six minutes of a post. This has sent a wave of fear and intimidation through Cambodia’s public sphere, where once critical voices have begun to self-censor. Politikoffee is an offline space where Cambodians feel free to debate and voice dissenting views without fear of arrest.  “Before, I used to share and talk a lot about political and social issues on Facebook, but now it’s a little bit scary to talk about these sensitive issues because I’m afraid I’m going to get in trouble,” Meng said. Internet censorship Cambodia’s government monitors social media. Last May, Cambodia’s Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications, Ministry of Interior and Ministry of Information, issued a regulation to monitor Facebook. The government stated that it wants to control information that is deemed to “threaten the defence and security of the nation, relations with other countries, the economy, public order, and discriminates against the country’s customs and traditions.” The Cambodia Center for Independent Media stated in its 2017 report that seven Facebook users were either arrested or sought by authorities for sharing information and opinions on the social media platform. In 2018, an election year, the number is unknown. “The directive was actually released after they were already identifying, monitoring, charging and imprisoning people,” said Naly Pilorge, director at LICADHO, a human rights monitoring group in Cambodia. During the election in July, 17 news websites – including RFA, VOA and Cambodia Daily (already closed down in 2017) – were ordered offline for 48 hours. Critics believe internet censorship is intended to stop outlawed Cambodia National Rescue Party supporters inside the country from sharing, liking or commenting on election boycott campaigns. “The directive came afterwards to legalise what they were doing in practice already. And it changed the habits of the average [social media] user,” Pilorge added. “The people online that we interact with, we see that there are differences. Definitely people are afraid, hesitant, paralysed. Ourselves included. We’re cautious.” In the lead-up to this year’s election, all independent media was shut down. The main opposition leader was jailed for alleged treason. Two former Radio Free Asia reporters and an Australian filmmaker were jailed for alleged espionage. Several human rights and political activists languish inside Cambodia’s prisons – guilty until proven innocent according to LICADHO. “What you’ve seen over the past year and a half is, for example, a minister or the prime minister decides a post is critical or is unacceptable and will immediately denounce a Facebook post,” Pilorge said. “Within 48 hours this individual is being arrested, charged, imprisoned in pre-trial detention and sometimes convicted.” Increasing regulation  Though the election is over, censorship online is prevalent. Prime Minister Hun Sen was re-elected last month in a vote criticised by the UN as fundamentally flawed. “If the situation for freedom of expression worsens, maybe we will have something that we can do together in order to inform [Cambodians] which tool or application they can use without getting into any trouble,” Meng said. Cambodian digital security trainer Moses Ngeth teaches journalists, activists and human rights campaigners how to secure accounts, and protect data online.  “I train them how to do very basic device security for smartphones, password protection. I tell them to be careful when posting something to social media and not to share any personal information,” he said.  Ngeth believes this new mandate will give the ruling CPP legitimacy to pass its much-anticipated draft cybercrime law. “People cannot talk on the radio, or on television. It leaves only Facebook. That’s why they increased regulation of social media,” Ngeth said. Cambodians can still be arrested, charged, jailed or fined for Facebook posts under criminal defamation, royal defamation laws, or incitement. “I think it’s natural to have fear, but when I see someone is arrested for saying something on social media I don’t feel comfortable. I think that people should feel free to express themselves,” said Kounila Keo, a Cambodian blogger and communications consultant. Prime Minister Hun Sen has amassed over 10 million followers on Facebook. Sam Rainsy, the exiled former CNRP leader who ran in the 2013 elections, claims that many are not even Cambodian and may be fake online profiles generated abroad – an accusation the prime minister refutes. “What [the prime minister] said … ‘When you post, I can know the location’ – it’s one of the funniest things I’ve heard from him,” Ngeth said. “Using Facebook to know the location, it’s not possible,” Ngeth said. Prime Minister Hun Sen and members of the CPP are using Facebook to bypass traditional news media such as newspapers, radio and television, viewed as hostile to the government, to reach Cambodians directly with their messages. “The prime minister and other public figures campaign on Facebook,” said Ngeth. We're not doing anything to harm society. We're doing it to make society a better place, especially for youth to be able to share ideas and contribute. SAMOEURTH SEAVMENG, KNOWN AS MENG, ACTIVIST Back at the Politikoffee debate, the upcoming cybercrime law is considered for discussion in a future forum. Meng wants members to be able to communicate online without being punished for spreading “fake news” for commenting on the draft law. “Now we’re thinking about [developing] a new tool, or a new kind of app, that we can be sure will be safe for us to talk about any issue because we mostly discuss politics,” Meng said. “We’re not doing anything to harm society. We’re doing it to make society a better place, especially [for] youth to be able to share ideas and contribute.” Original Link: https://www.aljazeera.com/features/2018/8/23/i-used-to-talk-about-politics-on-facebook-but-now-its-scary

ក្រុម​កាហ្វេ​នយោបាយ​បើក​គេហទំព័រ​ឲ្យ​យុវជន​សរសេរ​បញ្ចេញ​មតិ​ដោយ​សេរី

Cambodian leader's love-hate relationship with Facebook

As Demographics in Cambodia Shift, Youth Seek Political Change

With connectivity boom, Cambodia's political battles shift online