Search

Search form

Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Only Virak suit in works: CPP

Only Virak suit in works: CPP

Cambodian People’s Party spokesman Sok Eysan, who filed a defamation complaint on behalf of the CPP against political commentator Ou Virak, talks to the media earlier this year in Phnom Penh.
Cambodian People’s Party spokesman Sok Eysan, who filed a defamation complaint on behalf of the CPP against political commentator Ou Virak, talks to the media earlier this year in Phnom Penh. Heng Chivoan

Only Virak suit in works: CPP

A day after prominent political commentator Ou Virak was slapped with a defamation complaint, a Cambodian People’s Party spokesman said the filing of cases against people who maligned the party would be limited to Virak – for now.

Sok Eysan, himself a complainant in the case, said that while no other suits were planned at the moment, the party would keep an eye out for analysts and commentators who, as in Virak’s case, allegedly twisted the truth and hurt the CPP’s dignity.

“We are just looking to see if anyone says something and see if it matches our freedom of expression or it’s over the limit,” he said. “Ou Virak went over the limit, and the CPP took it seriously.”

He also reiterated his position, stated in the complaint he filed with the Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Monday, that Virak wrongly claimed in an interview with Radio Free Asia that the CPP played a role in the controversy surrounding an alleged extramarital affair between CNRP acting president Kem Sokha and 24-year-old salon worker Khom Chandaraty.

Picking up from a Facebook post on Monday, Prime Minister Hun Sen, speaking at the inauguration of a road in Banteay Meanchey yesterday, repeated his threat to initiate legal action against people he believed had overstepped the limits of free expression.

“I have already told you that your freedom has limits in relation to others’ freedoms,” he said. “You must remember clearly all these points – they have rights, but we also have rights.”

Despite facing a claim for $100,000 in the defamation suit, Virak, the founder of the Future Forum think tank, said he would continue to express his opinion on matters that affected the country and help mould public discourse.

His only regret was the spotlight had shifted to him and away from the issues Cambodia needed to deal with.

“The concentration should not be on me but more about highlighting the need for a public space for debate,” he said.

Grassroots political activist Kem Ley, who has also been outspoken about the political nature of the Kem Sokha scandal, said he was not interested in the CPP’s threat and would instead ramp up his activities to increase public criticism of the party’s actions.

“While people are following this issue, we must increase our activity to analyse, debate and criticise the government over its good and bad actions to increase public awareness,” Ley said.

RECOMMENDED STORIES

  • Breaking: PM says prominent human rights NGO ‘must close’

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has instructed the Interior Ministry to investigate the Cambodian Center for Human Rights (CCHR) and potentially close it “because they follow foreigners”, appearing to link the rights group to the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party's purported “revolution”. The CNRP - the

  • PM warns party of complacency in leaked audio

    Two leaked audio tapes, purportedly of Prime Minister Hun Sen speaking candidly to senior officials, appear to hint at insecurities within the ruling party over the controversial dissolution of the country’s main opposition, with the premier warning that the party’s “struggle” didn’t

  • Government approves plan to relocate Phnom Penh’s airport

    The government has signed off on a proposal to build a new airport to serve Phnom Penh and has earmarked land in Kandal province for the $1.5 billion project. A new international airport to replace the existing Phnom Penh International Airport will be constructed on partially

  • Music festival promises big stage, has even bigger hopes

    With a line-up of local and international artists, and a massive outdoor venue booked on Koh Pich, or Diamond Island, Saturday’s Diamond Moon Festival is aiming to showcase contemporary musical and artistic talents at a scale rarely seen in the Kingdom. [img] But the