Search

Search form

Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Tussle over Bayon comment

Tussle over Bayon comment

Tussle over Bayon comment

Son Soubert, the president of the Son Sann Foundation, has threatened popular news anchor Soy Sopheap with legal action if he does not retract comments to the effect that Son Sann – Son Soubert’s father and a leading nationalist figure – sold land to Thailand in concert with former Khmer Rouge head of state Khieu Samphan.

In a statement on Monday, Son Soubert said the comments, allegedly made during a broadcast on Bayon TV on Friday, were potentially defamatory.

“I therefore challenge Mr Soy Sopheap to produce evidence and to retract what he has falsely declared, or otherwise face legal actions for defamation,” Son Soubert wrote.

In 1978, Son Sann, who died in 2000, formed the Khmer People’s National Liberation Front  to unite anti-communist refugees along the Thai-Cambodian border following the 1979 overthrow of the Khmer Rouge regime.

The Cold War calculus of the age, however, made strange associations. In June 1982, Son Sann entered into a coalition – the Coalition Government of Democratic Kampuchea – with the royalist Funcinpec and remnants of the Khmer Rouge, an association that still prompts controversy.

But Son Soubert wrote that Soy Sopheap’s accusation not only affected Son Sann’s reputation but has also besmirched the reputation of King Father Norodom Sihanouk, the founder of Funcinpec.

“This gratuitous, grave and unfounded accusation goes as far as involving the reputation of His Majesty the King Father and that of Samdech Son Sann, recognised by the great majority of the Member States of the United Nations as the sole legitimate government,” the statement read.

“I have duty to condemn with extreme severity, the unfounded and gratuitous assertion unworthy of a real, genuine and conscientious journalist, [because of] his declaration accusing Samdech Bovor Setha Thipdei Son Sann of selling the land to the Thais with Mr Khieu Samphan in a signed document,” the statement read.

When contacted yesterday, Soy Sopheap dismissed the allegations, saying he has never accused Son Sann of selling land to the Thais. He said the comments were quotes from former leaders living along the Cambodian-Thai border.

“The words I said are the words that I quoted from the former leaders along the border. If they told me a lie, I followed what they said,” Soy Sopheap said.

“I have not accused anyone – I have quoted what they told me. Grandfather Son Sann, I have always valued him.”

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

  • Rainsy and Sokha ‘would already be dead’: PM

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Sunday appeared to suggest he would have assassinated opposition leaders Sam Rainsy and Kem Sokha had he known they were promising to “organise a new government” in the aftermath of the disputed 2013 national elections. In a clip from his speech

  • Massive ceremony at Angkor Wat will show ‘Cambodia not in anarchy’: PM

    Government officials, thousands of monks and Prime Minister Hun Sen himself will hold a massive prayer ceremony at Angkor Wat in early December to highlight the Kingdom’s continuing “peace, independence and political stability”, a spectacle observers said was designed to disguise the deterioration of

  • PM tells workers CNRP is to blame for any sanctions

    In a speech to workers yesterday, Prime Minister Hun Sen pinned the blame for any damage inflicted on Cambodia’s garment industry by potential economic sanctions squarely on the opposition party. “You must remember clearly that if the purchase orders are reduced, it is all