Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Premier pledges yearly sit-down with journalists

Premier pledges yearly sit-down with journalists

Prime Minister Hun Sen accepts an award for supporting press freedom yesterday.
Prime Minister Hun Sen accepts an award for supporting press freedom yesterday. Hong Menea

Premier pledges yearly sit-down with journalists

Prime Minister Hun Sen yesterday announced he will grant an annual audience with journalists, instructing Information Minister Khieu Kanharith, who suggested the idea, to sort out the time, restaurant and list of attendees.

The premier said the gathering would help close the gap between government leaders and the Kingdom’s press.

It would also feature “dining and dancing”, he said, after accepting an award for supporting press freedom from a group called the Union Media of ASEAN yesterday.

“Sharing discussions and questions, this will make the dining more delicious, but I hope there will be no people accusing me of buying their journalist’s heart,” the premier said.

Sebastian Strangio, a journalist and author of Hun Sen’s Cambodia, said the plan fit with the premier’s recent efforts to “bring himself down from Olympus” and connect with disenfranchised voters.

“Will it mean anything? Any attempt to give the press more access to the prime minister should be welcomed, but it all depends on who will be invited and how open the questioning will be permitted to be,” Strangio said via email.

Puy Kea, secretary general of the Club of Cambodian Journalists, said the event would hopefully compel more government leaders to engage with reporters.

“This is good,” Kea said. “I’ve interviewed him several times and he accepted all critical questions.”

Hun Sen later lamented what he referred to as inaccurate journalism, including suggestions he had purchased Facebook likes, an assertion he called stupid.

He also pointed out his dominance of the Kingdom’s news cycle.

“If Hun Sen did not speak, you would all lose your jobs,” he told gathered reporters.

“When Hun Sen gives speeches, you can write for days. But if I do not speak, the analysts, they have nothing to say, too, and sometimes they don’t listen but speak anyway.”

Additional reporting by Shaun Turton

MOST VIEWED

  • Ethnic group ‘disappointed’ to be denied French visas to attend court

    Eleven people at the centre of a case involving seven indigenous Bunong villages in Mondulkiri province pursuing legal action in France have expressed disappointment after the French embassy in Phnom Penh denied their visa applications to attend court. A press release said the 11 included a

  • Cambodia nabs 12th place in best retirement destinations

    Cambodia is an expatriate hotspot for those dreaming of living a more luxurious lifestyle at an affordable cost, according to International Living’s Annual Global Retirement Index 2019. For the fourth year in a row, Cambodia took the top spot in the Cost of Living category.

  • EU starts EBA withdrawal

    The EU on Monday announced that it has begun the 18-month process of withdrawing the Kingdom’s access to its preferential Everything But Arms (EBA) agreement over “a deterioration of democracy [and] respect for human rights”. However, the Garment Manufacturers Association of Cambodia (GMAC) said

  • PM: War result of foreign meddling

    Prime Minister Hun Sen said on Sunday that Cambodia’s recent history of conflict was caused by foreign interference. “The wars that happened were caused by provocation, incitement, support, smearing and interference from foreign powers, and the group of ignorant people who pushed Cambodia to