The Ministry of Information has appointed another 67 advisers to its cabinet, a move a social observer said was unnecessary when the ministry should instead expedite the drafting of a law on access to information.
In a royal decree dated June 15 and obtained by The Post on Sunday, King Norodom Sihamoni approved the appointment of 67 officials as advisers, 25 of whom will hold the largely symbolic rank equivalent to under-secretary of state while the other 42 will hold an equivalent of director-general.
The decree also named Sok Chanpheakdey as under-secretary of state of the ministry.
Ministry of Information spokesman Phos Sovann said on Sunday that the Kingdom needs more talent in the field of information while there were currently few schools fostering such skills for the younger generations. He said the ministry thus saw a need to ease the shortage through a transfer of knowledge.
“As we all know, the field of information is complex. All the new recruits have various skills, namely arts, sports, social work, among other skills, so we employ them.
“For those who have had experience teaching the subjects before, we will enable them to train the younger generation of officials at the ministry or other schools,” he said.
Moeun Chhean Nariddh, the director of the Cambodian Institute for Media Studies who was also named an adviser to the ministry, could not be reached for comment on Sunday.
But through his Facebook post on Saturday, Nariddh said without elaborating that he was overjoyed at the appointment after spending nearly 30 years struggling in what he called a psychological battlefield as both a combatant and a commander.
Nariddh will hold a rank equivalent to under-secretary of state.
“I promise to fulfil the tasks with all my strength in order to strengthen and push the field of information towards further advancement,” he said.
San Chey, the executive director of the Affiliated Network for Social Accountability, said he saw no need in appointing more advisers when the ministry already has too many in its cabinet. He said he would rather see promulgation of the law on access to information and more independent media outlets in the Kingdom.
“What’s the point of having a great many advisers when press freedom in Cambodia still faces restriction as it does today? It is meaningless. This does not contribute to promoting the image of journalism in the country,” he said.