King Norodom Sihanouk used the start of Cambodia's colorful Water Festival to appeal
to his government not to arrest journalists who criticize him.
Information Minister Ieng Mouly had said at the recent ethics conference at the Foreign
Correspondents' Club that journalists writing unfavorable articles about the King
could face arrest.
Before the races began loudspeakers broadcast a message from the King in Beijing
requesting the authorities not to detain critical journalists.
"I would like to ask the Royal Government of Cambodia not to arrest any journalist
who is guilty of criticizing me, Norodom Sihanouk, King of Cambodia," state
radio quoted the 71-year-old monarch as saying.