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Journalists bemoan barriers to information

Journalists bemoan barriers to information

THE government is throwing up bureaucratic hurdles to restrict press freedom, Cambodian journalists have said.  

Khieu Kola, a board member of the Club of Cambodian Journalists, told the Post that while the media pass issued by the Ministry of Information should be sufficient to access all ministries, many required special passes.

"Many journalists have complained about restrictions on their access to information, especially for situations like public statements from the prime minister and other government officials," he said.

Some government institutions refuse to recognise the Information Ministry-issued press pass and instead communicate only with a selected pool of journalists they trust, according to Um Sarin, president of the Cambodian Association for the Protection of Journalists.

"Press freedom is still limited. It's been a good strategy for the government to hide information," he said.

Pen Samithi, president of the Club of Cambodian Journalists, said security concerns were not a legitimate reason to restrict access to information because that reasoning could be used to deny press freedom around the world.

"If journalists with a media pass still don't have free access to information, then the Ministry of Information should reconsider the value of its media pass," he said.  

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