Cambodia bans texting SMS ahead of elections

Cambodia switched off mobile phone text messaging services, a day ahead of elections to choose new local governing councils, an Associated Press report said.

The Associated Press report said hundreds of thousands of migrant workers packed buses and taxis and headed home to vote in their provinces, where Prime Minister Hun Sen's Cambodian People's Party has had a loyal support base for almost three decades.

Ahead of Sunday's vote, cell phone text messaging services were switched off to keep voters from being flooded with campaign messages, and maintain what the government called a two-day 'tranquility period,' the report said.

The Associated Press report said the decision prompted protests from the opposition party and independent election monitoring groups, who denounced the SMS ban as unconstitutional.

Telecommunications Minister So Khun said that all three major phone companies in Cambodia had agreed to block text messages on Saturday and Sunday, the report further said.