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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Incidence of facts and objectivity

Incidence of facts and objectivity

Your article "Law enforcement strives for better forensics" (Post September

24), which was about how scientific facts - collecting forensic evidence - can assist

police, was spoilt by your reporter making a statement which is not supported by

any statistically valid or scientific facts.

The incidence (expressed as a number per 100,000 population) of sexual assault in

Cambodia has never been calculated and is therefore not known; it could only be described

as high if the incidence rate in Cambodia was compared with other countries. Also,

the age band 0-15 years, used by statisticians for respected organizations such as

UNICEF, UNESCO, UNFPA and WHO to denote children, has not been used by LICADHO; as

a result the LICADHO numbers are statistically useless and cannot serve as any guide

to the true incidence of sexual assault.

My guess-and it is only a guess-is that the incidence of sexual assault in Phnom

Penh is far lower than the incidence in, for example, New York, so it should make

the reader ask the question: who benefits from erroneously portraying Cambodia as

a country where "the incidence of sexual assault ... is disturbingly high"?

I know it is easier for a reporter to regurgitate what has been fed to him/her by

an NGO, but it would contribute more to society's understanding of a problem if the

reporter made an effort to research the facts and report independently with objectivity.

Sadly, I believe better forensics will not make any difference because the root problem

is corruption, corruption and corruption; corrupt government, corrupt courts, corrupt

police, corrupt NGOs and now an opportunity for corrupt doctors.

Touch Bunnil - Phnom Penh

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