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PM thanks press for democracy work

PM thanks press for democracy work

FIRST Prime Minister Prince Norodom Ranariddh has congratulated the Khmer

Journalists Association (KJA) for its work to promote democracy in Cambodia.

At the KJA's second annual congress on Jan 5, Prince Ranariddh said the

Cambodian media had been given 18 months of total freedom "rarely experienced in

other countries".

While some new papers had participated in attempts at

national reconciliation, others had used their freedom without responsibility

and professionalism.

He said nobody was milder than him, yet he remained

a target of cartoons and insults in the Khmer press.

"I am 51 years old

- my father never uses [such ] insulting words against me," he said.

But

the prince said he had never asked Information Minister Ieng Mouly to sue any

journalist, and had even told him to stop warning journalists because they did

not listen anyway.

He said the government was committed to opposing any

intimidation or threats to journalists.

KJA president Pin Samhkon, 48, a

father of three [left] - re elected for a second term at the congress - said the

group would continue to push for a 100 per cent free, independent Khmer press in

Cambodia.

Samkhon used to live in France from 1974 to 1992. He started

his own newspaper Khmer Ekareach which is still being published.

Meanwhile, the National Assembly's Human Rights Commission Charmin, Kem

Sokha, has urged the government and the media to both do more to resolve their

differences.

At a Khmer Institute for Democracy panel discussion on Jan

6, he said one side should not wait for their other to open their

arms.

"It is better for both to reach out their arms - journalists should

respect their code of ethics the government should encourage training [of

journalists.]"

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