Gov’t Bans Actress for a Year for Violating ‘Code of Conduct’

A 24-year-old Cambodian actress has been banned from appearing in any movies for a year after the Culture and Fine Arts Ministry found her clothes to have violated a code of conduct.

Denny Kwan, who has appeared in numerous movies and boasts of amassing more than 300,000 Facebook followers, said she had only learned of the ban online, and was confused by why she had been targeted.

Actress Denny Kwan, in a photograph posted on her Facebook page

“In Cambodia, there are many sexy artists. Some are even more than me when shooting, featuring kissing and being erotic,” she said.

“I don’t want to talk about it, because when we talk about it, it might affect others,” she said. “Just know that I accepted the ministry’s decision.”

Chamroeun Vantha, director general of the ministry’s disciplinary and praise council, said Ms. Kwan was banned after being accused of violating a code relating to national “ethics” and “virtue.”

“The reason was because she did not follow the code of conduct of artists. On top of that, we had already invited her once to be educated and she promised that she would act in accordance with the advice, but she has still been doing the same,” Mr. Vantha said.

Ms. Kwan was called into the Culture Ministry in May last year, where a secretary of state “educated me like a daughter,” she said at the time, though she added that she reserved the right to keep dressing as she wished.

This is believed to be the first time an entertainer has faced action under the vaguely worded 2010 code of conduct, which aims to promote the “preservation, maintenance of arts, culture, tradition and the identity of the nation” and “prevent any negative effects of the arts and tradition of the nation.”

Ros Sopheap, executive director of gender equality group Gender and Development Cambodia, criticized the decision on both ethical and legal grounds.

“For me, I think that the ministry should not do that to her because she has the right as there is no policy or law to prohibit what people wear,” she said, adding that the ministry was violating the U.N.’s Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women.

“She’s not the first one. People all over the world and in Cambodia…dress like this. Why only take action on her and block her career for a year?”

For her part, Ms. Kwan said she would maintain a similar but not “overly sexy” image upon her comeback.

“Within this one year, I will quit being sexy,” she said.

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