R EACTION to the jailing of the Daily News editor Nguon Noun was mixed. Human
rights advocates saw the jailing as a clear human rights violation, but
Cambodian reporters were more willing to see the government's side in the issue,
and to say that Nguon Noun made a mistakes that prompted his arrest.
Cambodian editor was arrested after publishing stories that inveighed against
government corruption. The Royal Government said that the proximate cause of the
arrest was his failure to respond to two court summonses. He was released two
Ang Eng Hong, General Secretary of the Cambodian Human Rights
and Development Association (ADHOC), had stronger opinions. "I think that Nguon
Nun's detention was a human rights violation. There was no trial, there was no
trial, he has not been determined guilty, how can he be detained."
was a simple act of intimidation. They did not just detain him, they put him in
T-3, they made him change his clothes [into a prison uniform]."
Hong said that the King and others intervened in the situation in order to
settle it. Nguon has now been released, and the matter appears to be settled,
but it is not. I think that this story will continue, it will not end."
reporter for a Khmer newspaper, and who declined to be identified, said: "More
than 50% of the people support Nguon Nun's side. We agree with the letter of
King Sihanouk who said that press should be given as much freedom as possible.
But we are between socialism and democracy, and people's ideas must change, this
will take a long time. We have finished socialism. We are moving toward freedom.
The situation is still mixed, the old ideas are still strong."
Cambodian newspaper editor said: "There were two mistakes made. The government
made a mistake by arresting Nguon. By the law in Cambodia, Nguon made a mistake
by making a charge against an individual without having documents or
The same editor was asked about the consequences of the arrest.
Was he more afraid to write what he considered to be the truth? The
editor said: "We are not afraid about the corruption. We are afraid of the
authorities. They act outside the law. You know, Nguon was on Funcinpec
committee before he became the editor of Morning News, and they could not
protect him. What will we do? We do not even have Funcinpec to protect
The news editor from another newspaper said: "This did not make us
more afraid, we have always been afraid."