Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Gov’t touts free press record

Gov’t touts free press record

People watch a presentation during World Press Freedom Day in Phnom Penh yesterday.
People watch a presentation during World Press Freedom Day in Phnom Penh yesterday. Heng Chivoan

Gov’t touts free press record

The Ministry of Information yesterday trumpeted Cambodia’s free press credentials during an event for World Press Freedom Day yesterday, though a political observer being sued over remarks he made on radio said the situation for freedom of expression was still grim.

Information Minister Khieu Kanharith lauded Cambodia’s top spot among ASEAN nations in Reporters Without Borders’ annual World Press Freedom Index, although globally the Kingdom ranks 128 out of 180.

He also spoke of “journalists in name only” who use the title as a cover for extortion, and called on all journalists “to respect their professional ethics”.

Club of Cambodian Journalists director Chhay Sophal said 19 journalists had been accused of extortion in the past 12 months, and a further four accused of defamation.

Prominent analyst Ou Virak – currently being sued by the CPP over comments he made during a Radio Free Asia interview – said while Cambodian press freedom has increased in recent years, the overall situation of freedom of expression had deteriorated.

“It’s not the media that’s being targeted. But . . . if you’re targeting people who are prominent in the media, then you’re probably limiting what gets reported and what gets discussed,” said Virak

Meanwhile, the Cambodian Centre for Human Rights (CCHR) launched a social media campaign in support of World Press Freedom Day, highlighting nine cases of harassment of journalists in the last 12 months, including two assaults and a murder.

“For Cambodia to enjoy genuine press freedom, the judiciary and government need to stop targeting those who dare to expose corruption and criticize the powerful,” CCHR’s Protecting Fundamental Freedoms Project coordinator Chhay Chhunly said.

Additional reporting by Jack Davies

MOST VIEWED

  • Stock photo agencies cash in on Khmer Rouge tragedy
    Stock-photo companies selling images from S-21 raises ethics concerns

    A woman with short-cropped hair stares directly into the camera, her head cocked slightly to the side. On her lap is a sleeping infant just barely in the frame. The woman was the wife of a Khmer Rouge officer who fell out of favour, and

  • Prime Minister: Take back islands from inactive developers

    The government will “take back” land on roughly 30 islands from private companies that have not made progress on planned developments, Prime Minister Hun Sen said in a speech on Monday that also targeted land-grabbing villagers and idle provincial governors. Speaking at the inauguration of the

  • Land on capital’s riverfront is opened up for investment

    The government has signed off on a proposal to designate more than 9 hectares of land along Phnom Penh’s riverfront as state-private land, opening it up for private investment or long-term leasing. The 9.25-hectare stretch of riverfront from the capital’s Night Market to the

  • Royal Group's Koh Rong luxury hotel officially opens

    The Royal Sands Koh Rong hotel on Monday marked its official launch as the first luxury resort on Cambodia’s most visited island. Prime Minister Hun Sen presided over the inauguration of the hotel, which has been open since December, and features rooms priced at