Thursday, 20 January 2011 19:54 Summer Walker
Local internet service provider Ezecom today denied reports it blocked a web domain hosting popular antigovernment news blog KI-Media, while access to the site appears to have been restored for its customers.
Ezecom sent a notice to its customers today in response to press reports, denying it received a directive from the government to restrict access to any website.
The notice stated that the ISP did experience a technical problem on Wednesday which “could have potentially caused some users issues”.
It claimed the technical glitch was resolved by 8:30pm that night.
“Reportedly EZECOM Customer Service staff stated that we received a directive from the government,” Ezecom CEO Paul Blanche-Horgan said in the letter.
“As the CEO I can say, we have received no directive, nor did we block access to any websites on our service.”
KI-Media and other websites on the blogspot.com domain appeared available to Ezecom customers as of today, though users reported problems with the domains as early as Tuesday.
On Wednesday, a customer service representative for Ezecom told The Post that his manager told him to block access to the website on the government’s orders.
Naly Pilorge, director of rights group Licadho, said an additional Ezecom representative had confirmed the order with her.
The allegation was also reported in the Khmer-language press.
Naly Pilorge said today that access to KI-Media appeared to have been restored for Ezecom customers, though around five of her associates were having difficult accessing the blogspot.com domain through the Metfone ISP.
Nguyen Do, a marketing representative for Metfone, had not responded to questions as of press time.
Minister of Information Khieu Kanharith said today that he was unaware of any order to block access to the site.
“Until now I am still in the dark about who made the order. My ministry never issued such an order,” he said.
KI-Media last made headlines in December, when Seng Kunnaka, a security guard employed by the United Nations World Food Programme, was charged with incitement and jailed for six months after he showed colleagues an article printed from the website – a verdict that was harshly criticised by rights groups.
The controversy also follows an aborted scheme by the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications to charge private companies to route all domestic web traffic through a single, state-run Domestic Internet Exchange managed by Telecom Cambodia.
The plan, announced in April, fell through after the private sector exerted pressure due to concerns such a move would hinder the sector’s growth.
TC leaders told The Post at the time that the aim of the hub plan was to give the ministry more control over web content.
ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY THOMAS MILLER