Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - American-backed radio will not budge on broadcasts

American-backed radio will not budge on broadcasts

American-backed radio will not budge on broadcasts

Radio Free Asia (RFA) shot back at the Cambodian government today in the wake of its unusual private lecture, saying officials were trying to intimidate the station and dictate its content, while Voice of America (VOA) stressed that they would change nothing about their broadcasts.

The words came a day after officials from the Council of Ministers and the ministries of Justice, Foreign Affairs and Information held a closed-door meeting with representatives from the two US-government funded stations.

While the government has insisted the meeting was friendly and only touched upon professionalism in general, sources knowledgeable about it have said the government was highly critical of their reporting of sensitive stories.

In its first official comments on the matter, both RFA and VOA said they will not adjust their reporting.

"The meeting was nothing more than a blatant attempt to discourage objective reporting on the government. RFA will continue to report on any and all stories of public interest and concern in an accurate and objective fashion," the station said in a statement.

"The Cambodian government clearly does not understand the principles of a free press or the important role of independent media if it thinks it can intimidate RFA and dictate what we can or cannot report on. We stand by our stories and our reporters."

Chief of VOA Khmer Chris Decherd defended the station's lack of bias and said it had no intention to back down from reporting "accurate" news.

‘‘VOA Khmer will continue broadcasting and reporting in the same objective and professional manner we have done for more than five decades, providing timely, accurate and enterprising Khmer-language news of the world, the US, Asia and Cambodia each day to the 15 million citizens of Cambodia. It is those citizens who are our audience. They deserve quality news that they can trust," he wrote in an email.

Council of Ministers spokesman Phay Siphan, the only government official who has publicly discussed the meeting since news of it was disclosed Tuesday, continued to stress that the meeting was amicable.

"What took place today, we didn't make any judgment, we just reminded them to look back at their own mission statement," he said.

"We are not accusing them of anything."

Asked about the RFA statement, he called the claims a manipulation of the truth.

"It was not a sign of intimidation, it was a sign to respect Cambodia as a sovereign nation… the way they [presented it] they manipulated, they were biased. It's unprofessional," he said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Abby Seiff at [email protected]

MOST VIEWED

  • Negotiations on EBA being held

    In an effort to defuse tensions, a senior government official said Cambodia is negotiating with the European Union (EU) on the Everything But Arms (EBA) trade deal, which allows the Kingdom to export goods to the 28-member bloc tariff-free. The EU notified Cambodia on October 5

  • Ministers to tackle sea pollutants

    Preah Sihanouk provincial authorities and members of local communities have collected 77 tonnes of water hyacinth at a Sihanoukville beach, Preah Sihanouk Provincial Hall spokesperson Or Saroeun said. He told The Post yesterday that the aquatic weeds had been floating along some of the province’s

  • Chinese police escort deported scam suspects

    Ninety-one Chinese nationals accused of extorting money from victims in a Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) scam were deported from Phnom Penh International Airport on Monday under the escort of 182 Chinese police personnel. General Department of Immigration head of investigations Ouk Hay Seila told reporters

  • Sam Rainsy, government group set to clash at IPU Geneva meet?

    Opposition figure Sam Rainsy has been invited to speak at the General Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) in Geneva, according to a former Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) lawmaker. A government delegation is also set to attend the meeting, a National Assembly press release