Multiple impacts of the Internet on Cambodian society

The way the Internet has revolutionized and socialized the world is no doubt unprecedented. The way it has knitted itself into the social fabric is simply mind-boggling. It has invigorated economies by adding many layers to the mode of transactions, selling and shopping. E-commerce and its subsequent maneuvers is one such example. The Internet now also triggers immediate political reforms in different countries. Arab Spring is one such example. Similar is the case with Cambodia. It has been impacted by the spread of the Internet and social media platforms, most notably seen during the recent parliamentary elections. This new medium serves as a mean for people’s different expressions and purposes. Following are the major areas where the Internet seems to have impacted Cambodia.

Emerging e-commerce

Despite the fact that many online shopping websites have to face a lot of challenges, Cambodia remains a potential place for e-commerce. At least 5 million people have the Internet access and use it on daily basis. As of early 2013, according to the Phnom Penh Post, at least 650,000 people had a Facebook account. Today, the number of Facebook users is estimated to be around 1.4 million, and it does not show any sign of slowing down.

These circumstances create a suitable environment for e-sellers and e-commerce companies to step in. At least 25 to 30 websites are running business online and facilitating the young customers and entrepreneurs. This includes Kaymu, a venture owned by a global Internet incubator Rocket Internet. Others include Tepkosal Khmer and Little Fashion.

The major hurdle many of these ventures face is the problem of mode of transaction and proper payment infrastructure. But the CEO of Acleda Bank believes that “With sufficient human resource, commitment, good infrastructure and technologies in handling the online payments service, we strongly believe that we will make the business operate successfully.”

Impact on Journalism

Much like rest of the world, Cambodian press is also being affected by the penetration of the Internet and social media. With this much Facebook users and almost equal on twitter, journalists needed to catch up with the fast moving world. Therefore, many journalists are reported to have started their own blogs and use social media channels heavily in their reporting.

Impact on Politics and Social Justice

The biggest monster in every society is the social injustice. If a society manages to provide people legal and social justice, it is certainly an ideal society. The best part of the Internet and social media platforms is that news spreads like fire. Last year, an interesting situation ensued when a rich brat in Phenom Penh hit his car into a crowd killing three children and injuring at least eight people, and fled from the scene. Usually people with money get away with this sort of hit-and-run case. But the photos and videos of this fatal incident went viral on Facebook. People were closely following the case. The government and judiciary was therefore pressurized to serve justice. Eventually justice did prevail and the culprit got his sentence. Thanks to the Internet that shook our people out of sleep.

As a whole, one can argue that the Internet is going to implant a lot of positive impacts onto the Cambodian society.

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