Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Rocketing drug use



Rocketing drug use

Rocketing drug use

The Phnom Penh Post has produced some very good reports concerning the problem of

illicit drug abuse and trafficking over the past few years and the UNODC in Cambodia

views the media as a very important part of the fight against illicit drugs in the

country through raising public awareness of this important issue.

However, I would like to take this opportunity to clarify several key errors in the

report entitled, "Rocketing drug use alarms government" ( Post February

27, 2004).

One of the most serious mistakes occurs when I am quoted as saying that, "there

were strong indications that military and police are providing protection to drug

traffickers. The substance of evidence was not available, but he asserted that military

and police are directly involved in drug trafficking".

My comments related to the strong indications that some military and police appear

to be providing protection to drug traffickers, rather than stating that all of them

are involved. Also, the reporter's use of the phrase, "The substance of evidence

was not available", is confusing. My comments related to the fact that nobody

has ever provided evidence to the UNODC to support claims of system-wide direct military

or police involvement in drug trafficking.

Another error was made towards the end of the article when it was reported that the

UNODC's new Regional Representative for East Asia and the Pacific, Mr Akira Fujino,

"said two weeks earlier, when he was at a conference in Australia, the Australian

police representative reported that they had seized 750 kg of drugs smuggled from

Cambodia".

Akira Fujino told the meeting on February 24 at the Ministry of Interior that he

had attended a conference in Japan (not Australia) and that a representative from

the Australian Federal Police had told the conference that 750 kg of Ephedrine -

which is not a drug but is a precursor chemical used in the production of the drug

'methamphetamine' or yama - had been seized in Australia after it had transitted

through Cambodia en route to Australia.

The article also goes on to say, "A meeting in Phnom Penh on February 24 and

25 at the Ministry of Interior to review the National Authority for Combating Drugs'

work against drug abuse in 2003, and set objectives for 2004..." However, the

meeting was to review and clarify the responsibilities of each government ministry

in the control of illicit drugs in Cambodia. There are also various other, more minor

errors related to statistics in the article.

The UNODC appreciates that much of the terminology used in the drug control sector

is new to Cambodia, and especially to reporters who are new to such issues. We hope

to provide training to members of the local media in drug control issues and to assist

in issuing a guide to the vocabulary used so as to assist in the writing of effective

articles.

I would be most grateful if you would publish this clarification in your next edition.

I also hope that the Post will continue its important work in raising drug control

issues with the public and to follow the highest possible journalistic standards.

Graham Shaw - Programme Officer (Coordinator) UN Office on Drugs

and Crime Phnom Penh

MOST VIEWED

  • Cambodia on the verge of national tragedy, WHO warns

    The World Health Organisation (WHO) in Cambodia warned that the country had reached another critical point amid a sudden, huge surge in community transmission cases and deaths. “We stand on the brink of a national tragedy because of Covid-19. Despite our best efforts, we are

  • Phnom Penh placed in two-week lockdown

    The government has decided to place Phnom Penh in lockdown for two weeks, effective April 14 midnight through April 28, as Cambodia continues to grapple with the ongoing community outbreak of Covid-19, which has seen no sign of subsiding. According to a directive signed by Prime Minister

  • Vaccination open to foreigners in Cambodia

    The Ministry of Health on April 8 issued an announcement on Covid-19 vaccination for foreigners residing and working in Cambodia, directing the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training and local authorities to register them. Health minister Mam Bun Heng, who is also head of the inter-ministerial

  • Cambodia gears up for muted New Year festival

    The recent curfew and restrictions imposed in the capital and other Covid-19 hotspots were intended to break the chain of transmission, Ministry of Health spokeswoman Or Vandine said as municipal and provincial authorities issued new directives banning certain activities during the upcoming Khmer New Year

  • Culture ministry: Take Tuol Sleng photos down, or else

    The Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts has told Irish photographer Matt Loughrey to take down the photos of Khmer Rouge victims at Tuol Sleng Genocidal Museum which he allegedly colourised and altered to show them smiling. The ministry said Loughrey's work is unacceptable, affecting

  • Covid-19 vaccination now obligatory

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on April 11 issued a sub-decree making Covid-19 vaccination compulsory for individuals unless they have a medical certificate proving they have pre-existing health conditions that prevent them from doing so. «This applies to all members of the armed forces and civil servants