Vinh Dao is a Cambodian photographer who tweeted in the official court press room during the trial of Cambodia’s Khmer Rouge leader, “Duch,” this morning. The UN-backed war crimes tribunal announced a long-awaited sentence and Fast Company got the scoop on the verdict and twitter in Cambodia, a country where only .5% percent of the population uses the internet.
How many others at the trial were tweeting through it?
Surprisingly, I think I was the only one. I kept searching to see who else was there so I could retweet what I missed from the feed but couldn’t find anyone.
Were you in the actual room where the trial was taking place? What was the mood like?
I was in the press room during the trial but I had a chance to talk to a couple of people that were in the courtroom and they said it was somber with some people crying during the verdict.
How do you think the general public in Cambodia feels about the verdict?
I think people are a bit shocked about the light sentence. With the 19 years taken off the 35-year sentence, there might be a possibility he could walk out of jail. This disturbs me every time I think about it.
What is the Twitter community like in Cambodia?
Small compared to the population. Even though Cambodia has made huge leaps and bounds in redeveloping after the Khmer Rouge, there are still huge hurdles to overcome. I just searched some numbers here and found that just .5% of the population uses the internet.
Is Twitter popular there? Is Facebook?
Twitter is taking off, but Facebook is still king.
Has there been any effort by the government to censor Twitter users?
How did you find out about Twitter?
A friend from the States turned me onto it and there is a guy named John Weeks who is THE guy in Cambodia about social media and he convinced me to start tweeting on a regular basis.
How do you generally use Twitter?
At first, it was a bit un-focused, just random thoughts and such, but now I have been really focusing on social media, photo technology and new journalism.
[Photograph courtesy of Vinh Dao]