The Club of Cambodian Journalists on Monday called for politicians and local authorities to be more transparent and help facilitate the work that journalists do in order for them to better serve society.
And while the statement came on the heels of an incident in which local journalists were banned by bodyguards from interviewing deputy opposition leader Kem Sokha, the organisation denied that was what prompted the statement.
Local media reported the club’s plea was issued after the local journalists were not allowed to ask the embattled CNRP deputy president questions about audio recordings purportedly between he and a mistress recently circulated online during a public forum with supporters in Sihanoukville over the weekend.
However, Pen Bona, director of the club, insisted the appeal was not directly related to the Kem Sokha incident. The statement was not about a specific politician, he said, but rather to raise awareness about obstacles journalists continue to face in general.
He later acknowledged his belief that the incident involving Sokha’s bodyguards had affected the ability of the journalists to do their jobs.
CNRP Spokesman Yim Sovan said the party never banned journalists from covering public forums, but if they interrupted a public event, the bodyguards had the right to protect CNRP leaders.
“Bodyguards have an obligation to protect Sokha when a bad situation happens,” he said.