Ministry supports ‘sexy’ ban

PHNOM PENH (The Phnom Penh Post/ANN) - The Ministry of Women’s Affairs plans to form an inter-ministerial working group soon to monitor, disseminate, educate and take action against those who spread and share pornographic pictures or videos on social media.

The Ministry of Women’s Affairs plans to form an inter-ministerial
working group soon to monitor, disseminate, educate and take action
against those who spread and share pornographic pictures or videos on
social media.

The move comes after Hun Sen denounced live streaming sellers who
were using women dressed in revealing clothing to attract more viewers.

However, civil societies have said that the measures will only result in stifling the rights and freedoms of women.

The ministry’s Department of Information deputy director Pen Kunthea
said on Tuesday that after Hun Sen’s recommendation, her ministry and
other relevant ones discussed ways to stop online sellers using
pornographic imagery, such as showing excessive cleavage, and
eradicating it from social media.

The discussion led to the establishment of a working group
comprising the ministries of Women’s Affairs; Information; Posts and
Telecommunications; Interior, and Culture and Fine Arts.

“We formed the working group to examine problems relating to
excessively sexy and revealing pictures online. We also want to monitor
anything similar that affects our society, culture, traditions, customs
and especially women’s values,” she said.

Kunthea said as a first step, the Ministry of Women’s Affairs
requested the police to work to educate women who displayed cleavage
online on appropriateness. She also said, should they fail to follow the
recommendations of the police once informed, the law would be enforced
against them.

Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts spokesman Long Bunna Sireyvath said
he had not yet received information regarding the plan to form the
group. However, he welcomed participation with the inter-ministerial
working group.

“Although the online sellers had displayed cleavage which did not
relate directly to art, it does involve our culture. Accordingly, the
Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts will contribute to solving the problem
along with other authorities.

“If this working group is formed, it will be a positive force for
maintaining social order in our culture and traditions. We want to
maintain the values of our Khmer women. The actions of these sellers
devalue our women and make men do bad things,” he said.

Bunn Rachana, the executive director of women’s rights organisation
Klahaan, said restrictions on the rights of freedom of expression and
the expression of women’s bodies would not help society in its
development.

She said it will prohibit women from wearing certain clothes, which will remove their right to chose what they wear.

“I cannot say whether or not I am interested in joining the working group that the ministry plans to form.

“If the group is formed in a sense to restrict the freedoms of women,
then I don’t think it should be formed. If the group is formed to
educate, spread, promote and enhance the rights of freedom of women, it
is a necessary thing,” she said.

The Ministry of Women’s Affairs on February 24 issued a press release
saying that the measures had been met with enthusiasm from the public
because people wanted to stop the sharing of pornographic pictures on
social media among online users.

The statement said: “The measures aim to protect the rights and
dignity of humans, especially women. The measures increase the wellbeing
of citizens and preserve and promote the traditions of our nation.

“The measures are aimed at a small number of online sellers who use
pornographic pictures that contradict the laws and are not aimed at
restricting the rights and freedoms of Khmer women.”

At the annual meeting of the Cambodian National Council for Women to
review last year’s work and set goals for 2020, on February 17, Prime
Minister Hun Sen instructed the relevant authorities to educate online
sellers who use pornographic pictures or nudity before taking any
concrete action.

Until now, the police have detained only one online seller. The
seller was initially warned and advised about the inappropriateness of
her content on social media sites. However, she failed to follow the
recommendations and has since been sent to court for legal proceedings.

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