MCFA Urges Halt Use of Deceptive Photos to Flog Artefacts

Authorities have threatened to take legal action against online businesses and sellers who use fake images of Cambodian artefacts to sell copied goods to traders
National Museum, Phnom Penh. Kiripost/Siv Channa
National Museum, Phnom Penh. Kiripost/Siv Channa

The Ministry of Culture and Fine Art (MCFA) on Monday called on online businesses to stop using misleading photographs to propagate the sale of artefacts via social media because it can affect Cambodia's legacy.

MCFA officials noted that some businesses and online sellers are promoting and selling art objects on social media platforms, including Facebook and TikTok, and using images to attract audiences and sell their wares, according to MCFA’s official statement.

Further perpetuating the issue is often these pictures of artefacts are false or deceptive, which can lead to confusion from the public. Also, foreign authorities and private collectors may misunderstand that looted antiquities returned to Cambodia are now being traded in the market without any intervention from the government.

MCFA has now threatened to take legal action against traders who continue to carry out these illegal acts.

Sambo Manara, a history professor at Pannasastra University of Cambodia, told Kiripost, “Regarding Cambodian tradition and culture, there are two categories. First, original culture and also copy culture. Now, a lot of people are trying to copy our culture to promote their works, especially business.”

While copies of Cambodian cultural artefacts help raise the nation’s profile globally, Manara said issues arise. For example, Apsaras are often exhibited, but people should state that they are copies of the original and made from other materials such as wood, stone, and plastic.

He said, “When they have a chance to copy and make handmade goods this can support their daily income, like painting pictures. Yet, they have to make sure that they do not negatively affect society.”

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