Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Hun Manith, officials and pro-government journalists promoted



Hun Manith, officials and pro-government journalists promoted

Prime Minister Hun Sen’s son, Hun Manith, was appointed vice chief of his father’s cabinet.
Prime Minister Hun Sen’s son, Hun Manith, was appointed vice chief of his father’s cabinet. Facebook

Hun Manith, officials and pro-government journalists promoted

The premier’s son Hun Manith and a slew of officials, journalists and others linked to the government or ruling party were given promotions on Friday.

The royal decree, signed by Senate President and Cambodian People’s Party Vice President Say Chhum and dated September 29, grants Manith, who is also the head of military intelligence, a position as deputy cabinet chief and the rank of secretary of state.

It also appoints 29 other “advisers” to Prime Minister Hun Sen, including Pankhem Bunthan, executive director of the Youth Federation of Senaneak, who in October 2015 was seen leading a protest outside the National Assembly that resulted in two opposition lawmakers being brutally assaulted.

“I will try to work harder than before to serve the nation,” he said yesterday. Ruling party spokesman Sok Eysan said Manith and all those named were promoted for their “personal qualities”, deflecting questions about the move being perceived as nepotistic.

“Do not mention about the nepotism . . . because there are a lot of people who have been promoted,” he said.

Huy Vannak, an undersecretary of state for the Ministry of Interior and media adviser for the Cambodian Broadcasting Service – which includes the television stations CTN, CNC and MyTV, among others – said he was not surprised by the appointment of journalists, which include employees of government broadcaster TVK, the ruling party’s channel Apsara TV and similarly pro-government outlets.

“The prime minister promotes those who work hard, and are quality staff,” he said.

The promotions from the pro-government media come hot on the heels of a government clampdown on the independent press. Several independent broadcast outlets and the critical Cambodia Daily newspaper have been shuttered in recent weeks. At the same time, government mouthpiece Fresh News has expanded into online radio, and the Ministry of Interior has launched its own new television station, Nice TV.

According to Vannak, who is also the president of the Union of Journalists Federation of Cambodia, many on the list “wear two hats”, working both for the government and for private broadcasters, like CNC personality and military officer Chan Darun.

Asked whether it was appropriate for journalists – even those working for public broadcasters – to accept positions working with the premier, he said that comparing Western ethical standards for journalistic independence to those in Cambodia is “like if you compared a student in primary school to a PhD candidate”.

Noting that he was once a reporter, government spokesman Phay Siphan said that he thought any journalist accepting such a position gave up their professional credibility.

“The public will see them no longer as professional journalists. They became state employees,” he said.

Siphan said that he had no concerns about the country being perceived as lacking independent journalists – which he believes never existed, to begin with.

“I believe that there are no such independent journalists in Cambodia, but there are so many professional, ethical and credible journalists,” he said.

MOST VIEWED

  • Would you like fries with that? US burger chain makes Phnom Penh debut

    California-based The Habit Burger Grill restaurant chain is all set to serve up a delicious array of charbroiled burgers and sides at its newest international location in the centre of Phnom Penh. The Habit is “renowned for its award-winning Charburgers grilled over an open flame,

  • Angkor provides ‘valuable’ water storage

    The Apsara National Authority (ANA) has stored millions of cubic metres of water at reservoirs in the Angkor area after Cambodia experienced a series of rainstorms over the last few days. The storing of the water, besides serving temple conservation, will also be used to

  • Banteay Meanchey flood victims receive aid

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Wednesday provided aid to more than 10,000 families affected by flooding in Banteay Meanchey province’s Mongkol Borei district and offered his condolences to the 18 victims who drowned in the province over the past week. He said flooding had occured in

  • PM urges caution as Polish man tests positive for Covid

    The Ministry of Health on Wednesday reported that a 47-year-old Polish man tested positive for Covid-19 after arriving in Cambodia on Monday. There are a total of six Covid-19 patients currently in the country, all of whom are being treated at the Khmer-Soviet Friendship Hospital

  • Banteay Meanchey floods kill one more as death toll reaches 15

    As floodwaters start to recede in Pursat, Battambang and Pailin provinces and Phnom Penh, Banteay Meanchey continues to bear the brunt as one more person was killed on Monday, bringing the total number of flood-related deaths to 15 in the province this month. Banteay Meanchey provincial

  • Serving coffee with a side of robots

    The eye-catching glass building surrounded by greenery at the intersection of Streets 371 and 2002 in Phnom Penh’s Sen Sok district is more than just another coffee shop where you can while away a few hours. UrHobby House cafe is filled with robots and characters from