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New project in Information Age: Cambodia goes on Internet

Issued: 03 March 2003

With US$ 1.2 million aid money from the United States, the community information centers in 22 provincial capitals throughout the country are being opened. The first information center was recently inaugurated in Takhmao, the capital of Kandal province.

According to the Asia Foundation which is running the project, the Information access in most of Cambodia is strictly limited; although the IT service gradually increases in Phnom Penh, in provinces, people are mostly still deficient of it.

Over the last few months, the foundation has worked with local partners to create a portal in local Khmer language in order that the access can be done by the mass Cambodians. All the content is local and comes from various sources, including political parties and non-governmental organizations in Cambodia. The running project is expected to benefit Cambodian voters for getting better access to information ahead of the general election in July.

However, questions and doubts occurred on the information that goes on line. The Cambodia's media has a poor reputation for accuracy; radio and newspapers often misrepresent rumors and half-truth as news. There are then some critics saying the Internet may even spread the inaccurate information to a wider audience in Cambodia. Information Technology director at the Asia Foundation argues that on the contrary, this project will create space for alternative voices to balance such reports.

In Takhmao, local people have no experience of using the Internet, but most say they are glad to have a chance to get access to the information for free.



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