Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - ‘Don’t fall under foreign influence to turn people against the government’

‘Don’t fall under foreign influence to turn people against the government’

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Government spokesman Phay Siphan. Heng Chivoan

‘Don’t fall under foreign influence to turn people against the government’

Government spokesman Phay Siphan called on Cambodian journalists on Thursday not to fall under foreign influence designed to turn people against the government.

The call came during an open-door meeting led by Siphan with spokespersons from the government and each ministry in which ministry spokespersons were urged to be more forthcoming in speaking with the media.

Prime Minister Hun Sen appointed the inter-ministerial committee of spokespersons on June 10.

Reporters had a duty to contribute to maintaining the continued peace, stability and development of the country, Siphan said.

“Our journalists are to contribute to safeguarding Cambodian sovereignty. This sovereignty does not belong to any one individual – it belongs to us all after we lost sovereignty in the 1970s,” Siphan said.

Siphan continued that some journalists were under foreign influence and biased, driven by jealousy to find evidence against their own government.

“I cite as a clear example, reporters trained by foreigners who don’t dare use Prime Minister Hun Sen’s honorific [Samdech Akka Moha Sena Padei Techo] because they think that if they do then it is vaunting the government,” Siphan said.

Ouk Kimseng, under-secretary of state at the Ministry of Information, who attended Thursday’s meeting, spoke of reporters’ complaints of encountering difficulties in getting information from some spokespersons.

However, he said there was more than one spokesperson at each ministry, there could be more than three, and should reporters fail to reach one, they should try another.

“There are those [spokespersons] who shy away from reporters. I think they should speak with reporters because they have nothing to be afraid of. Give the reporters the information,” Kimseng said.

Voice of America reporter Sun Narin said that Siphan should not have made such remarks as trained journalists would themselves know what should and shouldn’t be reported.

“Our country is developing. There are things to be learned from foreigners, and studying under them does not mean they exert any influence over us. We must speak for ourselves . . . if we don’t, then who will speak for us?"

“We have had training courses in China, the US and various other countries, so when it comes to foreigners exerting influence, which country is doing so?"

“Cambodian journalists love their country. All Cambodians love their nation, but we show this by doing different activities,” Narin said.

Moeun Chhean Narith, the director of the Cambodian Institute for Journalism, said on Thursday that as a trainer of young reporters, he would accept the recommendations.

However, journalists with professional ethics would not allow bias to affect their reporting.

He said that some media outlets received funding from their government, and still produced articles critical of any misconduct.

“I cite the example of the British Broadcasting Corporation, the BBC. The BBC receives a budget from the UK government, but if it or its officials do something wrong, the BBC will criticise as they do so out of duty as professional journalists,” Chhean Narith said.

MOST VIEWED

  • No word on state of emergency

    The National Assembly (NA) said it will postpone all unnecessary meetings in line with guidance from the Ministry of Health and the World Health Organisation (WHO) amid the Covid-19 pandemic. However, it did not say when or how it will debate the “state of emergency”

  • Many in limbo as tension heightens

    As the Kingdom restricts travel and prepares for a state of emergency, some foreigners in Cambodia are scrambling for a way home. Foreign embassies in Phnom Penh are making efforts to get their citizens out, but cancelled flights have become common due to the coronavirus

  • State of emergency draft law set for NA

    A draft law aiming to place the Kingdom in a state of emergency amid the Covid-19 pandemic is set for a debate at the National Assembly (NA) after going through the Council of Ministers’ Standing Committee meeting led by Prime Minister Hun Sen on Tuesday.

  • Khmer New Year holidays postponed

    In an effort to halt Covid-19 infections in the Kingdom, Prime Minister Hun Sen has postponed the Khmer New Year holidays scheduled from April 13 to 16. While the people will not have their usual break, nor will there be any public celebrations or gatherings at pagodas,

  • NA, Senate set for bill on ‘emergency’

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has requested the Senate to convene an extraordinary meeting to review the draft law that aims to put the Kingdom in a state of emergency after the bill reached the National Assembly (NA) on Friday. The draft law, which was approved

  • Hun Sen, ministers, officials donate salaries in virus fight

    Prime Minister Hun Sen and other senior government officials have decided to donate their salaries to the National Committee for Combating Covid-19 in support of the ongoing battle against the coronavirus. Hun Sen announced in an April 1 letter that because the Covid-19 situation in Cambodia