Human Rights Law NGO Hits Cambodia, Vietnam and Thailand for Using Coronavirus to Control Media

An international human rights law NGO Thursday criticized the governments of Cambodia, Thailand and Vietnam for using the COVID-19 pandemic to enact new laws that would allow them to more tightly control the media.

The Switzerland-based International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) submitted a report to The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) saying that the new laws “contain provisions incompatible with human rights law and standards as their vague language makes them prone to abuses.”

The report also detailed harsh sanctions and criminal penalties for violations of the vaguely written laws, which the ICJ said was not compatible with the principles of necessity and proportionality.

“Laws in Cambodia, Thailand and Vietnam that do not comply with human rights law and standards have served to shrink the civic space in which the media operate,” said Sam Zarifi, the ICJ’s Secretary General in a press release.

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Eugene Whong