Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Rainsy lawsuit ‘clarified’ by chief of CPP website

Rainsy lawsuit ‘clarified’ by chief of CPP website

CPP web administration official Som Soeun, who has sued opposition leader Sam Rainsy for defamation, speaks to reporters after leaving Phnom Penh Municipal Court yesterday.
CPP web administration official Som Soeun, who has sued opposition leader Sam Rainsy for defamation, speaks to reporters after leaving Phnom Penh Municipal Court yesterday. Niem Chheng

Rainsy lawsuit ‘clarified’ by chief of CPP website

A Cambodian People’s Party official was summonsed to Phnom Penh Municipal Court yesterday to clarify the defamation suit he launched against opposition leader Sam Rainsy over a Facebook spat.

Som Soeun, chief of the technical group of the CPP website, said he had instructed people to “like” Prime Minister Hun Sen’s page, but denied Rainsy’s allegation he had told them to create fake accounts to bolster the premier’s following.

Soeun took issue with Rainsy “distorting” a directive to CPP members in a Facebook post on March 9.

“The message was mine. I made it to instruct the party members to like Samdech’s [Hun Sen’s] Facebook page. That’s all,” Soeun said.

He said his five-point plan told members they should help other members to create an account and like the page – but he did not address the point of “un-liking” Rainsy’s page.

“There is no part of the message that said we have to create fake accounts . . . the account is real, not fake,” he said.

“He [Rainsy] distorted the message by claiming that I instructed supporters including civil servants, police and soldiers.

The party never instructed [them] to do that; we instructed only the party members.”

Rainsy disagreed yesterday, saying that Hun Sen was “a Facebook cheater” and that Soeun had “implicitly and actually asked CPP supporters to use all possible technical means” to inflate the prime minister’s “likes”.

“Nobody should be surprised with regard to the CPP’s unscrupulous way of collecting Facebook ‘likes’ in Cambodia, where the ruling party has mobilised the whole state apparatus to support Hun Sen’s offensive in the social network,” he said via email.

The defamation case comes in the wake of a Post report that showed 80 per cent of the premier’s most-recent “likes” had come from abroad, raising questions about their authenticity.

CPP spokesperson Sok Eysan yesterday was forced to backpedal on his previous assertion that members “came voluntarily to like without being instructed”.

“As [Soeun] insisted, there was no bribery, no threat; he just instructed. It is simple, because the instruction is not for the opposition party, it is for the CPP and the general public to like. It is not wrong.”

Soeun said that he sued Sam Rainsy for 20 million riel, about $5,000, because he wanted justice.

“If I win, I will give this 20 million riel to Facebook groups to use it for humanitarian work for the people,” he said.

Additional reporting by Erin Handley

MOST VIEWED

  • New US bill ‘is a violation of Cambodian independence’

    After a US congressmen introduced bipartisan legislation that will enact sanctions on Cambodian officials responsible for “undermining democracy” in the Kingdom, government officials and the ruling Cambodian People’s Party on Sunday said they regarded the potential action as the “violation of independence and sovereignty

  • Angkor Wat named as the top landmark for the second year

    Travel website TripAdvisor has named Cambodia’s ancient wonder Angkor Wat as the top landmark in the world for the second year running in their Travelers’ Choice Award 2018, an achievement Cambodian tourism operators expect will attract more tourists to the Kingdom. The website uses traveller

  • Ministry’s plan for net sparks fears

    The government has ordered all domestic and international internet traffic in the Kingdom to pass through a Data Management Centre (DMC) that has been newly created by the state-owned Telecom Cambodia, in a move some have claimed is an attempt to censor government critics. Spokesman

  • Hun Sen detractors ‘will die’

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Wednesday said those who curse or insult him would eventually die without a plot of land to bury their bodies after being killed by lightning, suffering the same fate as those who recently died in Thmar Baing district in Koh