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Debate

តើប្រទេសកម្ពុជាគួរតែដាក់បញ្ចូលមុខវិជ្ជាវិទ្យាសាស្ត្រនយោបាយ ចូលក្នុងកម្មវិធីសិក្សាថ្នាក់វិទ្យាល័យដែរឬទេ?

សូមស្វាគមន៍មកកាន់ការតទល់មតិរបស់កាហ្វេនយោបាយ! នេះគឺជាការធ្វើការតទល់មតិលើកទី១របស់យើង​​​ ហើយប្រធានបទគឺ៖​ «តើប្រទេសកម្ពុជា​គួតែដាក់បញ្ចូល​ មុខវិជ្ជាវិទ្យាសាស្រ្តនយោបាយ​ ចូលក្នុងកម្មវិធីសិក្សាថ្នាក់វិទ្យាល័យដែរឬទេ?» ដែលមានវត្តមាន​ កញ្ញា​ សាមឿត ស៊ាវម៉េង​ ខាងមតិស្រប​ និង លោក វណ្ណ​ ប៊ុណ្ណា​ ខាងបដិសេធ ដោយម្នាក់ៗ​ជ្រើសរើសយកទឡ្ហីករណ៍តែចំនួន៣ប៉ុណ្ណោះ​ យកមកបកស្រាយ។ សូមបញ្ចាក់ផងដែរថា ទឡ្ហីករណ៍ដែលពួកគាត់បានយកមកដេញដោលនេះ មិនមែនជាមតិផ្ទាល់ខ្លួនរបស់គាត់នោះទេ ដោយសាតែយើងត្រូវកំណត់ឲ្យមានអ្នកស្រប និងអ្នកបដិសេធ។ គោលបំណងនៃការតទល់មតិ គឺដើម្បីលើកកម្នូពស់នូវវប្បធម៌សន្ទនាប្រជាធិបតេយ្យក្នុងចំណោមយុវជននៅកម្ពុជា។ សូមអានការដេញដោលមតិនេះឲ្យបានល្អិតល្អន់ជាមុនសិន​ មុននឹងអ្នកទាំងអស់គ្នាបោះឆ្នោតឲ្យបេក្ខជនរបស់យើង។​ នេះដោយសារតែអ្នកទាំងអស់គ្នាអាចបោះឆ្នោត​ បានតែម្ដងប៉ុណ្ណោះ ដោយប្រើប្រាស់គណនីហ្វេសប៊ុក។​ ក្រុមកាហ្វេនយោបាយ​ មិនមានសិទ្ធិនិងមិនអាចដឹងបានទេ​ថា អ្នកណាបានបោះឆ្នោតបេក្ខជនមួយណា។​ ការបោះឆ្នោត គឺអនាមិកទាំងអស់! រយ:ពេលនៃការបោះឆ្នោត​ គឺពីរសប្ដាហ៍ ហើយអ្នកដែលទទួលបានភាគរយច្រើនជាង​ គាត់គឺអ្នកឈ្នះ។ អ្នកអាចចូលរួមបញ្ចេញមតិយោបល់ទៅលើការដេញដោលនេះ នៅខាងក្រោមបាន!

koffee

Understanding Deforestation in Cambodia

Writer: Leang Leng Thai, 3rd year student majoring in International Studies at The Royal University of Phnom Penh Editor: Sao Phal Niseiy, Editor-in-Chief at The Cambodianess and Deputy Editor-in-Chief at Thmey Thmey News (Photo Credit: "Deforestation"by World Bank Photo Collection is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)   The 32nd President of the United States, Franklin D. Roosevelt once said, “A nation that destroys its soils destroys itself. Forests are the lungs of our land, purifying the air and giving fresh strength to our people.” What do you think about his statement? Literally, forests are indeed key to every life on earth, but what human beings have been doing over the past decades appears to be going in the wrong direction. As can be seen, many countries around the world, including Cambodia, have been continuing to cut down trees for the sake of meeting their economic demands.  As a least developed country, Cambodia had been previously thought to be covered with large swaths of woodland and the home to a variety of animal and plant species. However, threatened by forest degradation, the country's forest cover decreased from 73% in 1993 to between 55% to 60% in 2015. In 2016, Cambodia just had 9.4 million hectares of forest cover, which accounted for 54% of the total land area of 18.1 million hectares. Surprisingly, the number continued to decline to 46.84% in 2018.    The factors contributing to forest degradation It appears that much of the forest area loss is due to the economic land concession, which is a part of the government's economic development policy. Economic land concession, by legal definition, is a long-term contract that allows concessionaires to clear land to develop industrial-scale agriculture, including large-scale plantations, construction of factories to process agricultural products, and livestock farming. The government also provided more than 270,000 hectares of protected forests to private companies in 2012 alone through the policy. It considers that this policy is an effective way to enhance economic development, which encourages job creation and revenue generation. Moreover, the ongoing illegal logging has also raised a grave concern as it keeps on devastating the forests. According to a report commissioned by the University of Maryland and Global Forest Watch, Prey Land lost up to 7,511 hectares of forest cover in 2019, up by 73 percent compared to the previous year due to widespread forest clearing. Prey Lang is the last significant lowland rain forest on the Southeast Asian mainland. The forest is located in the northern part of Cambodia, west of the Mekong River, and covers approximately 5000 square kilometers. It is home to various endangered animal and plant species and up to 250,000 people--many of them are indigenous Kouy people. Additionally, a report from the UK Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) alleged that systemic bribery in Cambodia and Vietnam allowed illegal timer trafficking across borders. Its investigation report also discovered 300,000 cubic meters of wood harvested between November 2016 and March 2017--of which included expensive and rare rosewood--had been smuggled out of Cambodia with the help of Cambodia and Vietnamese officials, who reportedly had obtained up to $13 million in bribes.    The negative impacts of deforestation According to the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), nearly 80% of Cambodians live in rural areas, with 65% relying on agriculture, fisheries, and forestry for a living. As a result, their livelihoods and well-being are heavily reliant on forest resources. And deforestation, of course, threatens to deprive their decent income, food, and materials for shelter and fuel. Forests are critical because it saturates and controls water flows and mitigates the detrimental impacts of climate change. Due to the ongoing deforestation, Cambodia has suffered more frequent and more severe droughts, and the worst one in 50 years took place in 2016, affecting nearly every province across the country. Thousands of people in vulnerable communities have been seeking lean water sources, and many poor farmers have also lost their crops and livestock.  On the other hand, soil erosion and coastal flooding are also two other consequences of deforestation on a large scale. The soil erodes and gets washed away without trees, forcing farmers to change the place and continue the cycle. The disappearance of rainforest will also put animal and plant populations at a greater risk as the forest provides them with protection. Furthermore, the absence of trees could lead to a dramatic increase in greenhouse gas emissions. Healthy forests capture carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere and can serve as carbon sinks. Deforested areas lose this capacity, releasing more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Cambodia’s forests could store over 2.71 gigatons of carbon, approximately equal to the annual emissions of 2,200 coal-fired power plants in the United States.   What can we do to address deforestation? Currently, the government already had a well-defined strategy for managing and conserving natural resources and biodiversity. Furthermore, the forestry law also provides a structure for management, harvesting, use, development and preservation of the forest while imposing harsher punishments against any offenders. Yet, more actions are still needed to tackle deforestation.  Firstly, I think the actions should include providing accurate information and taking timely intervention against the wrongdoers due to the fact that the police and local authority often arrive late when cracking down on illegal logging activities in the protected area. This condition allows impunity, which perpetrators can escape safely.  Secondly, there needs to be more accountability and transparency in the government's actions as they are essential in protecting the forests. In the meantime, the government should enable the non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to participate and cooperate with the authorities through joint forest patrols as the same as other forest protection works. It also should be active in providing sufficient information on forest protection to the citizens. Doing so will contribute to the promotion of public awareness in which people can understand and keep track of the forest protection work in the country.  Last but not least, our government has the responsibility to strengthen the rule of law by taking prompt action to investigate any alleged forest crimes as well as any irregularities or misconducts among its officials since there have been accusations raised by local and international non-governmental organizations, and other environmental networks. By mentioning legal action, for the sake of deterring wrongdoers, the government can strictly maintain severe penalties as the past experiences tell us that even those being aware of the laws continue to commit crimes.    *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

Politik

Koffee

All Hands on Deck: Youths and the Government’s Role in Building and Sustaining a Democratic Society

Writer: Keo Priyanith, a fresh graduate with a Bachelor's degree in Political Science and International Relations from Paragon International University Editor: Heng Kimkong, a Visiting Senior Research Fellow at Cambodia Development Center and a PhD Candidate in Education at The University of Queensland, Australia   As a young Cambodian who graduated with an International Relations degree, I have discussed, at length with my peers, the domino theory, the creation of supranational institutions and a myriad of other recent global events. However, I can’t recall a time when we sat down to debate who should be on our local commune council or pored over the budgetary spending of our own state government. Perhaps this experience is limited to only me and my circle, but nevertheless, my hypothesis is that there currently appears to be a huge imbalance amongst Cambodian youth regarding their knowledge of domestic and foreign affairs. In recent years, there is a trend where young Cambodians tend to flock to international affairs and to direct their attention to writing about policies of foreign lands such as those of Kabul, Pyongyang and Washington DC rather than turning a critical eye to their own country's policies and s internal state of affairs. What has caused this trend and what impact could this negligence have on Cambodia’s democracy and political space? A possible answer could be the lack of a stimulating, concrete and robust civic education curriculum. Many studies have highlighted the importance of civic education and the role it plays in shaping a country’s democracy. But what is civic education? According to the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, civic education refers to processes that “affect people’s beliefs, commitments, capabilities, and actions as members or prospective members of communities”. As the Center for Civic Education puts it, “Democratic self-government means that citizens are actively involved in their own governance; they do not just passively accept the dictums of others or acquiesce to the demands of others.”   A politically literate population can act as the vanguard in strengthening a country’s democracy by making the government more  accountable and transparent. The population may also become  more active in discussing issues in their communities and in the country as a whole. Aptly put, if we do not know about our surroundings, how will we care about what is happening around us?  Participatory budgeting, a democratic process in which community members decide how to spend part of a public budget,  perfectly represents this argument. Members of a community work together with civil society and elected officials for the betterment of their community while also restoring trust in the government and empowering citizens by “giving them real power over real money.”  It is powerful to see Cambodians rally for a cause that speaks to their moral principles. This illustrates the idea that when we start educating ourselves, we are empowering ourselves and our communities. Take the case of the military takeover in Myanmar. Many Cambodians, even those who stray from commenting on international affairs, are drawn to it and feel compelled to use social media to voice their frustration, fear and disgust of the actions of the military government. Some spectators lamented the lack of concrete action by ASEAN and other powers to take the necessary steps to stop the bloodshed.  However, the above thesis can only be accomplished when there is willingness from the political establishment to allow more space for political discussions. A rhetoric shared by some in the Cambodian political sphere is that young people do not need to concern themselves on political matters, and they would be better off by simply focusing on schoolwork and extracurricular activities. This rhetoric could explain why there is a disinterest from Cambodian youth to learn about their own country’s domestic affairs. Another possible cause is fear of negative repercussions from state authorities for acts of social media activism. This fear is not unaccounted for, For example, according to a recent VOD article, “more than 40 people [were] arrested for spreading alleged “fake news” about Covid-19 online, and in May three people were even briefly detained in relation to posting criticism about new traffic fines.” Assuming that people care and want to get involved, most are likely deterred from doing so because of the negative consequences they would face.     In short, while standing up for others is a noble act, we must not be dismissive of events that are happening in our own backyard. Cambodians, especially youth, should take heed of where their ignorance lays when it comes to national issues. They should be proactive in seeking information and supporting any cause that contributes to the common good. Similarly, state authorities should actively engage and utilize citizens’ contributions in order to truly be a government that works for the people. We as Cambodians can all do better by educating ourselves on a myriad of social and political processes that govern our lives.   *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.

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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