Home > Opinion > Who is blocking Internet access, acting against government policy?

Who is blocking Internet access, acting against government policy?

 by Nobert Klein, the founder of The Mirror and Thinking21
 Connect with Nobert Klein on FACEBOOK
When I tried again to access some websites with my Internet connection at Online this morning, I got this response on my screen:
The connection to the server was reset while the page was loading.
Who is doing this? It does not only happen to me – and I was told it
happens at least on one more Internet connection: Metfone. I cannot
verify this information myself. And I do not know if Internet access is
hindered also on other systems.
But I had the Online connection checked now again: On the connection
to another Cambodian ISP – Cellcard – there is no restriction.
I share this situation, because what happens is a breakdown of law –
of blatant actions against government policy which has been stated by
two Ministers of the Royal Government of Cambodia.
The people who limit free Internet access are
  • acting against fundamental rights: the access to information,
  • they do things for which there is no legal basis,
  • they make some ISPs supply deficient services to customers who have paid for full services.
Two Ministers of the Royal Government of Cambodia have spoken about government policy and common sense:
The Minister of Post and Telecommunication, H. E. So Khun, was quoted to have said in March:

“We don’t have any policy to shut down, to close the sites,” he said. “Sometimes … there is a problem with the ISP.”
But a member of the staff of this Ministry had written to ten
Internet service providers, using the name of the Ministry, urging them
block the access to certain places on the Internet.
The Minister of Information, H. E. Khieu Kanharith, was quoted in The Cambodia Daily to have said on 3 May 2011:

“The right to access to information is the key to good
governance.” In his speech on the occasion of World Press Freedom Day on
3 May 2011 he referred also to the on-going blocking of some websites
by some, not all, Internet Service Providers. “We don’t have any
intention to block any websites, any, even a website where they put an
obscene photo of the King – we never block,” he was quoted from an
interview after his address to the meeting. “Shutting a communication
system isn’t beneficial to the state,” he added. “The government does
not have a policy to block this website. Even I myself need to access
and read this website too.”

But my own access to some sites is still blocked on my Online
Internet access line. However, the Cellcard Broadband service is not
restricted. There may be also others like that – I appreciate to get
information which ISPs provide normal services, and which ISPs withhold
the full Internet access contracted.

When I inquired with Online by phone, I was told: “We know there are problems, but we do not block!” So I wrote to Online:

“Since several days, we experience that several web
sites are not accessible… I am informed that the same sites which we
cannot access with the Online connection are available through other
ISPs in Cambodia.

As this situation continues now already for several days and you are
aware of it, it is surprising that you did not rectify this

Would you please inform us about your response to us, your paying
customers, who suffer from problems at your company, with interventions
that do not affect other ISPs in the country. Will you offer a financial
compensation for service not delivered for the period of time of this
blocking? When will you reestablish to deliver the proper service for
which we are paying?”

More than one week later, and after a reminder was sent, the
administration of Online did not care to respond. I am now considering
to change to another ISP, one that provides the legally contracted

On 6 March 2011 I had written:

Ms. Sok Channda, the CEO of Cambodia Data
Communications, maintaining MekongNet and AngkorNet, said she had
received the email, but no official letter from the government. “We work
on letters, not email. If the government orders, they send us a letter.
We do business under the government and the government allows us the
license… We must follow but we cannot follow just email or phone call.”

This raises, of course, the question, why the leadership of other
ISPs did not take the same stand, based on a clear application of
principles of public administration.

It raises a similar question: Why do consumers maintain contracts
with companies that do not deliver what they promised? It is, of course,
understandable that there can be temporary unforeseen technical
problems, where we as consumers have to wait until the problems are
fixed in a timely manner. But when access is blocked for a long period
of time by some ISPs and not by others, it is obviously not a technical
computer or network problem.

Fortunately, consumers can make choices, by selecting ISPs that
deliver reliable services within the framework of government policy and
the law.

Source:  Thinking21.org

Categories: Opinion
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