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

  • Companies listed on CSX receive 50% deduction on income tax

    Tax incentives are granted to companies that have listed their shares or issued debt securities on the Cambodia Securities Exchange (CSX), whether they are small to medium-sized enterprises or large companies. The nine stock listed companies on the CSX – with seven listed on the Main

  • Siem Reap drain canal now ‘mangrove’ promenade

    A more than half a kilometre long stretch of canal in Siem Reap has been covered and turned into a promenade to attract visitors, said Ly Rasmey, secretary of state at the Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction, on September 16. The new pedestrianised

  • Cambodia mourns over UK’s Queen Elizabeth II

    Cambodia has joined other nations around the world to mourn the passing of Queen Elizabeth II, with King Norodom Sihanomi, Prime Minister Hun Sen and National Assembly president Heng Samrin extending their condolences in separate letters. In his letter to the late Queen’s son –

  • Final verdicts for Khmer Rouge leaders ‘vital’ for next generation

    Nearly a decade after the commencement of Case 002/02 against Khieu Samphan back in 2014, the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) is now set to deliver its final verdict for the former Khmer Rouge head of state. The Supreme Court Chamber of the ECCC,

  • Angkor wildlife, aquarium park still to open October

    The Angkor Wildlife and Aquarium complex about 30km southeast of Siem Reap town with initial total investment of more than $70 million is reportedly still on track for an end-October opening. The park is located on a 100ha plot along National Road 6 in Kbon village, Khchas

  • Railway project studies proceed

    The transport ministry is exploring options to expedite preliminary studies on key public railway infrastructure projects, especially the conversion of the Northern Railway Line that links to Thailand into high-speed rail. Railway freight and passenger transportation has been pinpointed as a major potential engine of