ARACELI PALAFOX WRITES – Hashtags let Twitter users teleport between the realm of zombie apocalypses and the fury of angry political protests. All the dishes you can imagine are served at this vast digital buffet.
These days, anything can become a trend on Twitter by simply inserting a hash tag before a word or common phrase, making it easy for others to follow and keep up to date. Cambodia recently made its unofficial Twitter debut by using it as a tool during recent elections and, more importantly, exposing protests that have evolved from those elections.
In a country where smartphones, tablets, and other wireless devices stand in high demand, it’s no surprise that Twitter has become not only a source, but a mechanism. Twitter has paved the way for political involvement, highlighting dates on future protests and human rights events.
But, after three websites were recently reported as blocked due to criticism of the government, concerns have grown about further in-country regulation of the Internet. “[A]ccess doesn’t mean freedom,” states the Cambodian Daily. In light of continued hostility between certain media sectors and the government, the Cambodia Center for Independent Media, and Reporters without Borders have recently demanded the reopening of Heng Serei Oudom’s case, a journalist who was brutally killed a year ago. Heng Serei Oudom’s murder, which is the eleventh since 1994, has since created a risky environment for journalists in Cambodia.
Whether Heng Serei Oudom’s case is reopened or not still remains unsure. But what will stimulate friction is this growing animosity between the media and the government. In a country where young social media users have become so politically involved, it would not be wrong to anticipate a generation of action in Cambodia.