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
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.