Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - CHRC’s propaganda gaffes draw ridicule

CHRC’s propaganda gaffes draw ridicule

A screenshot of the Cambodian Human Rights Committee’s video on human rights that labelled the Singaporean skyline as Libya before civil war. YouTube
A screenshot of the Cambodian Human Rights Committee’s video on human rights that labelled the Singaporean skyline as Libya before civil war. YouTube

CHRC’s propaganda gaffes draw ridicule

The government’s Cambodian Human Rights Committee was the subject of ridicule yesterday after a propaganda video tried to pass off snapshots of the Singapore skyline as those of pre-civil war Libya.

The video, titled Using Rights in an Anarchic Way, part of a web series, was uploaded on Sunday.

The slick video compiles a series of before-and-after photos of Syria and Libya, backed by dramatic strings, and warns “the excessive use if [sic] rights will bring about destruction”.

The two civil-war stricken states are a favourite metaphor of government officials urging Cambodians not to “misuse” their rights, yet the video uses an image of Singapore in place of Libya, as highlighted by Channel News Asia.

But the gaffes do not stop there. An image of Qatar’s capital of Doha also features in the video, while another video – which compares Cambodia after the Khmer Rouge era to the modern day – uses images of traffic jams in Vietnam to illustrate that there are now “too many people” in Phnom Penh.

The head of the human rights committee, Keo Remy, said the Singapore error was an “unintentional mistake” that his technical team had now fixed.

“It’s not embarrassing . . . the young people on the technical team have never been to visit Singapore or Libya,” Remy said. “They searched Google for ‘Libya at night time’ . . . it’s not a big deal.”

Twitter user Jess Lim, based in Siem Reap, said the mistake was ironic. “Coming from Singapore, I could smell a propaganda video a mile away,” she said yesterday, after tweeting a link to the story with the words: “Zero points for subtlety. Also, funny that Libya looked a whole lot like Singapore once.”

Satirical twitter account Hun Sen’s Eye tweeted: “Watch your rights-exercising! You know what the problem in Syria is? They love human rights TOO MUCH! #Cambodia”.

Independent human rights consultant Billy Tai said it was problematic for the Cambodian government to compare itself to leaders like Gaddafi and Assad – vicious dictators whose people revolted against them.

“They’re trying to say the people are the ones that are abusing the rights we’ve graciously given,” Tai said.

He said such a claim was analogous to “the perverse logic of an abusive relationship”, where the victim is blamed for inciting anger and beatings.

Cambodian Centre for Human Rights executive director Chak Sopheap said the video’s true mistake was that it advocated restricting freedoms, rather than promoting and protecting human rights.

MOST VIEWED

  • Cambodia unveils new quarantine regulations

    The government has modified Covid-19 quarantine requirements, shortening the duration for, among others, Cambodian officials, foreign diplomats and delegations, investors and inbound travellers in general. According to an official notice signed by Minister of Health Mam Bun Heng late on October 16, quarantine length for Cambodian

  • Cambodia sets new Covid-19 quarantine rules

    The government has modified Covid-19 quarantine requirements, shortening the duration for, among others, Cambodian officials, foreign diplomats and delegations, investors and inbound travellers in general. According to an official notice signed by Minister of Health Mam Bun Heng late on October 16, quarantine length for Cambodian

  • Hun Sen: Cambodia set to fully reopen

    Prime Minister Hun Sen concludes that the October 5-7 Pchum Ben public holiday, during which many people either flocked to their hometowns for family reunion or gathered at tourist attractions across the country, has not caused an outbreak of Covid-19. In a special address to

  • Will Evergrande change the way Chinese developers do business in Cambodia?

    China’s property sector policy has exposed the grim financial condition of real estate developers including those operating in Cambodia, which raises questions over the viability of their projects and business going forward The dark blue netting draping over one of Yuetai Group Co Ltd’

  • Cambodia voted ‘world’s friendliest country’ in Rough Guides reader poll

    Cambodia ranked number one among the “World’s Friendliest Countries”, according to a reader poll conducted by London-based international website “Rough Guides”. Taking submissions through Twitter and Facebook, “Rough Guides”, a well-known travel agency and publisher of guidebooks, said the Kingdom “was by far the

  • S’ville set to turn into ‘second Shenzhen’

    The Ministry of Economy and Finance has awarded a master plan consultancy contract to top Chinese institute for the development and transformation of Preah Sihanouk province into a “Model Multi-Purpose Special Economic Zone”, Southeast Asia’s next logistics and resort hub and innovation centre. The