The Preah Sihanouk provincial administration established a press and quick reaction unit on Friday as part of efforts to resolve a string of issues occurring amid “tremendous development” in the coastal province.
Kong Vithanak, the deputy governor of Preah Sihanouk province and head of the unit, told The Post on Sunday that “the new task force was created to collect information from the media and public and to push the relevant departments to resolve the problems that occur in their respective jurisdictions in a timely manner”.
Preah Sihanouk provincial administration spokesperson Kheang Phearum said the head of the newly established unit was under the supervision of the administration.
“The head of the unit is in charge of answering and addressing all news [concerning Preah Sihanouk] from the media,” he told The Post.
Cambodian National Research Organisation (CNRO) director Sok Sokhom appreciated the establishment of the unit and said he hoped that other provinces would follow in Preah Sihanouk’s footsteps.
“The presence of such unit would optimise the sending of inquiries and dissemination of information between the general public, including civil society organisations, and the Preah Sihanouk provincial administration,” he said.
Cheap Sotheary, the provincial coordinator for right groups Adhoc, suggested that Preah Sihanouk has been experiencing “a myriad of problems” as a result of “tremendous development”, and that the administration had often discussed the appointment of such unit as part of province-wide efforts to speed up resolutions to public issues.
“We will not be completely sure of the unit’s effectiveness until we monitor its work and see the results. However, since the unit would be assigned specific tasks, it would reduce the overlap of duties within the administration."
“At present, we often see an administrative office bearing too many responsibilities. We are concerned about the effectiveness of their work, given that their scope of duties is too extensive,” she said.
Sotheary said many new establishments were created but they had no jurisdiction to make the final say. Even their practices were controlled by the others, therefore, she hoped that the new press and quick reaction unit would be granted the authorisation to make independent decisions.
At the national level, the Press and Quick Reaction Unit was created by a Sub-decree of the Royal Government on June 22, 2009, and comes under the supervision of the Council of Ministers.
The unit comprises 23 people and its main duties are to carry out media work and react to content with a negative character coming from national and international media.
It also gauges the opinions expressed in various circles so as to maintain and protect the government’s prestige and promote national identification.