CNN International has apologised to the Ministry of Tourism after mistakenly posting on its Facebook page on Wednesday that the iconic temple of Angkor Wat was in neighbouring Thailand, drawing the ire of Cambodians around the world and outcry from the government.
“Thailand’s Angkor Wat is only no. 6 – so what’s the world’s top landmark?” the global broadcaster posted, with a link to an article about the world’s top 10 landmarks according to users of travel review site TripAdvisor.
A post on the Tourism Ministry’s website on Thursday described the Thailand error as a “rude shock” and provided links to two emailed apologies from CNN.
“That was regarded to be highly unacceptable by many who had expressed disgust since CNN International is of high repute. The Ministry of Tourism promptly wrote to CNN International to seek an explanation and for immediate redress,” it said.
CNN International’s Asia-Pacific vice president and managing director, Ellana Lee, said the organisation had concluded that “human error” was responsible for the mistake, which was “corrected within minutes”.
“On behalf of CNN, I apologize for any offense and confusion this has caused,” Lee wrote in an email to Minister Thong Khon, Secretary of State So Mara and marketing and promotion director Visothy So.
Another email from CNN sales director Stacey Rabsatt said: “We understand the sensitivities and know this is not acceptable”.
The ministry has urged Cambodians to accept the mistake as an innocent one, though numerous comments on CNN’s Facebook page have continued to lambast the broadcaster.
In 2003, the Thai Embassy in Phnom Penh was set ablaze and Thai-owned businesses attacked after local newspapers reported unverified claims that a Thai actress had said Angkor Wat belonged to Thailand.