Regular reader of the Post during my visits in Phnom Penh - and also in Paris when
it is possible to get issues - I was stupefied reading in your last issue the article
called "EU media guru says Ranariddh guilty". This article is a brutal
offence - and to me in an absolute lying way - against my friend Raoul Marc Jennar.
Needless to say that it was totally dishonest to include the word "guilty"
in the title. This word has a legal sense and it was not used by Jennar. Above all,
the defiance of the rules of journalism showed by this article is a real matter of
concern. According to Jennar, this article is based on a conversation which was not
announced as an interview but as a background and technical discussion on the EU
plans. Such a violation of the basic rules of journalism is not acceptable at all.
This is in absolute contradiction with the ethics of our profession.
I know Raoul Marc Jennar since many years. With Jean Lacouture, William Shawcross,
Elizabeth Becker, François Ponchaud, David Chandler, Nayan Chanda, Chris-tophe
Peschoux and a few others, he is one of those who helped me understand Cambodia.
He made a brilliant work during the past years - through chronicles and books - analysing
the political situation, describing institutions or surveying the press. His work
is appreciated by many of our colleagues.
Therefore, I want to express my surprise and my indignation about the outrage he
is suffering in your newspaper. It would be scandalous - and prejudicial for Cambodia
and for our work - that such offence without justification could jeopardize his professsional
future. But there are reasons to fear such outcome of an article which is pure libel
and should lead to court.
I have no doubt that the Phnom Penh Post - whose role is crucial in this particular
time of the history of Cambodia - will honestly recognize that a big mistake was
committed and I am sure that your newspaper will make the public apology Raoul Marc
- René Backmann, Le Nouvel Observateur, Paris