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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - KJA declares Naro's story was "unethical"

KJA declares Naro's story was "unethical"

T HE Angkor Thmei (New Angkor) newspaper article which quoted Prince Norodom Sirivudh

talking about plots to kill Hun Sen was unethical and unprofessional, said Pin Samkhon,

president of the Khmer Journalists Association (KJA).

"Within the KJA, the article is understood to be unprofessional and unethical

because the information was obtained from a visit to lobby for the sale of calendars,

not from an interview," Samkhon told the Post.

The KJA's ethics committee met early this week to discuss the article but Samkhon

indicated its author - KJA Secretary-General So Naro - was unlikely to face discipline.

Samkhon said: "We are looking for ways to boost professionalism, not to break

the necks of those who commit mistakes. Mistakes can be a lesson for others to do

things right."

At the Post's press time, the ethics committee - which chose to review the article

on its own volition, not in response to a complaint against Angkor Thmei - was still

hearing the case.

Under KJA rules, the committee can issue a declaration requiring members to publish

a retraction or clarification of an article in their newspaper or, in extreme cases,

expel a member.

Samkhon and other KJA officials said So Naro should have gone back to Sirivudh to

double-check to try to get his agreement to have the story published, or tried to

confirm it with other sources.

Samkhon seemed to acknowledge that the reputation of the KJA was in danger of being

tarnished, more or less, by the controversy over its Secretary-General.

So Naro, for his part, said he had not really considered whether he acted ethically

or not, but he still defended his actions.

He said Sirivudh had known he was a journalist and never said their conversation

was "off the record." He also maintained that Sirivudh had commented to

him that journalists should "take notes and remember."

Naro said he considered himself "close" to being a professional jorunalist,

but still had some things to learn.

Of Sirivudh's alleged comments to him in a private conversation, Naro said: "I

did not go back to confirm the story with him. Who would confirm such a story? Local

journalists don't have that habit."

Naro, whose term as KJA Secretary-General expires early next year, said he had not

decided whether to stand for election again.



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