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International relations

Cambodia squeezes online speech despite threat of EU backlash

European delegates to decide if country keeps preferential trade status

Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen has been irked by false social media posts claiming that he is dead.   © Reuters

PHNOM PENH -- Even as the European Union readies to visit Cambodia this week to decide whether the country should be removed from a preferential trade scheme due to lack of political reforms, Prime Minister Hun Sen is trying to enact two laws that could further stifle online speech, a move certain to rile EU negotiators.

Hun Sen pushed his ministers earlier this month to consider new legislation aimed at curbing "fake news" and to speed up drafting a cybercrime law, which was first proposed in 2012.

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