Phnom Penh (FN, July 4 – Prime Minister Hun Sen delivered a speech at the 41st Universal Periodic Review on Human Rights at the United Nations Office at Geneva on Thursday.

“As a democratic government, what we need is that all opinions should be expressed in a responsible manner, clearly distinguish between their rights of expression and insults, baseless accusation, slandering, fake news; and the call for rebellion against legitimately elected government which could lead to chaos and destabilization of the society,” he stated.

“I would like to inform the meeting that in Cambodia, people, regardless of their political tendencies, freely and vigorously express their opinions on various topics. Every day, I receive many feedbacks from my citizens. Instead of not supressing people’s opinions, the RGC indeed further encourages them to express their views, since their comments are regarded as mirror for the assessment on our performance, and serving as inputs to formulate policy and strategy for future developments,” he continued.

Cambodia is regarded as a heaven for non-government organizations (NGOs) and some of them have been funded from abroad where the sources have never been reported. There are 5,400 registered NGOs, as of now, including those operating to promote human rights, democracy, local development etc.

The Royal Government of Cambodia (RGC) has always treated NGOs as partners for development, especially for developments in local and remote areas; and the RGC wants to see those NGOs abide by the law, openly and frankly engage with the government on challenges for development, do not serve as puppets to foreign interest and create turmoil and insecurity in the country. To further foster genuine partnership, the RGC has regularly organized Consultative Forum with civil society organizations (SCOs) in a constructive manner without discrimination, under the leadership of the Ministry of Interior and Civil Society Alliance Forum.

Regarding the Freedom of Press, Cambodia has 550 print newspapers, 148 online newspapers, 211 radio stations, 21 TV networks, 113 TV cable channels and 39 press associations. Cambodians have the rights to receive news from all sources and types, and enjoy freedom of expression on every aspect.

“I have a Facebook Page that is served as a platform for all citizens to directly make comments on my leadership, on challenges for the development at their local communities, the misconduct of government officials and authorities, and other matters. All ministries, institutions and authorities at all levels also have their respective Facebook Pages to receive feedbacks from citizens. In addition, I set up, on a regular and annual basis, a meeting and gathering with media organizations in Cambodia to strengthen the cooperation between the RGC and the media in jointly fighting against corruptions and promoting socio-economic development,” Prime Minister informed the participants.