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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - US provides wacky material for local press

US provides wacky material for local press

THE Khmer press contributed as much as anyone to the muddle surrounding

American foreign policy or non-policy in the past fortnight.

The local NGO Open Forum of Cambodia, in its weekly overview of the local

press published in its newsletter The Mirror, said: "It is no surprise

that the real position of the US government... was reported so hotly in

different ways".

Athippadey newspaper carried, for instance, the stories: "Hun Sen will

be sentenced in international court; Sam Rainsy will be sentenced in Khmer

court"; and the slightly more confusing: "CMAC is helping to hide

US crimes."

The opposition Moneaksekar Khmer, on the same day, carried a seemingly outrageous

three-story spread: "Hun Sen starts to declare war against the US";

"The gun to kill Hun Sen is the National Assembly"; and "[Hun

Sen] wanted to be victorious over Kem Sokha, has decided to commit suicide."

The polar views of Proyuth and Rasmei Angkor came to the fore with their

respective leads: "If the US doesn't show its power Hun Sen will not

be scared off" and "Will Cambodia finally return to the year 1975?

If the US still interferes and the King still keeps quiet, what will happen?"

Smaradey Khmer possibly carried the most imaginative headlines: "14

FBI officials arrive in Phnom Penh, Hun Sen brought forces from the countryside

to surround Phnom Penh" and "Cambodians are understanding some

part of democracy, prison is coming to Hun Sen."

All this, and it was only Monday.

Tuesday, Moneaksekar Khmer followed up its scoop on Hun Sen declaring war

with the United States with "Please tell, when will Hun Sen order to

attack the US Embassy?" and a story headlined with a question whose

answer may be self-evident: "Why does Hun Sen hate opposition newspapers?"

Cheat, meanwhile, gave the CPP-faithful: "Without Hun Sen, Ranariddhhas

not only his tail but his head cut off"; "Dana Rohra-bacher is

being crazed by Ranariddh and Sam Rainsy's promises"; and "The

working group talked about crazy issues."

Rasmei Kampuchea, meanwhile, that day published a story that will probably

end up scooping all other media foreign or local with: "Royal government

is planning to take legal action against Rohrabacher in international court."

On Wednesday the opposition papers carried stories detailing how Hun Sen

won't find any place to hide if he "dares to kill US citizens",

and "US doesn't recognize Cambodian government which was created from


The pro-government media responded with: "Will the US promote Sam Rainsy

to be prime minister?" and the more rational "No legal grounds

to charge Hun Sen with genocide".

The headlines got wackier as the week went on.

"Rainsy-Ranariddh were convicted by international tribunal as war criminals

in Cambodia", suggested Phnom Penh, which also carried "Khmer

politicians are crazy" and "Foreigners continue to interfere in

Cambodian affairs".

On Friday, there was: "Hun Sen dares to fight against the US, but bows

to yuon" the continuation of a very familiar theme and "The US

is a war criminal!" from Chakraval.

The last word could well be left to Koh Santepheap: "Government is

looking for real US position".



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