Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - TV anchor Meas says he was ‘just joking’ in rape remark

TV anchor Meas says he was ‘just joking’ in rape remark

Hang Meas TV Deputy Director General Meas Rithy yesterday offers what women’s rights advocates called an insincere apology for inflammatory comments on rape that caused a social media uproar. Photo supplied
Hang Meas TV Deputy Director General Meas Rithy yesterday offers what women’s rights advocates called an insincere apology for inflammatory comments on rape that caused a social media uproar. Photo supplied

TV anchor Meas says he was ‘just joking’ in rape remark

A local TV presenter under fire for comments he made on the air instructing rape victims to give in to assault rather than to fight their attackers yesterday offered an apology of sorts, saying he was only joking when he made the suggestion and intended for it to be “educational”.

Meas Rithy, who hosts Hang Meas TV’s popular morning show and is the deputy director general of the station, was criticised by women’s rights advocates for saying last week that women should not resist rape, advising them instead to just “let them rape you”, while commenting on the sexual assault and murder of an 18-year-old woman in Svay Rieng province.

Addressing outrage on social media, the presenter said he would apologise on air if he had hurt the feelings of women with his comments. In his on-air apology yesterday he said his comments were meant to educate women and had been said in jest, and that he did not mean that women should submit themselves to rape.

“We don’t really mean all women when they get raped that they need to be soft. I already said that I am just joking,” he said on the show.

Rithy also addressed suggestions made by his co-host, Ros Sotheavy, that women should not hire taxis alone but should instead use public transportation for their safety. He said he was only asking women to be careful and find a driver they trusted, and that they were speaking with “good intentions”.

Meas Rithy, a news anchor for Hang Meas TV, seen hosting the show where he made misogynistic comments about rape that caused a social media uproar. Photo supplied
Meas Rithy, a news anchor for Hang Meas TV, seen hosting the show where he made misogynistic comments about rape that caused a social media uproar. Photo supplied

Rithy couldn’t be reached yesterday. His comments follow the implementation in July of a code of conduct – signed by the Ministry of Women’s Affairs and Ministry of Information – for reporting on violence against women, which explicitly prevents victim shaming.

Women’s rights advocates yesterday were not placated by his apology, saying it was insincere.

Bun Rachana, who works at ActionAid, said the apology was riddled with excuses, and she was unable to comprehend how a brutal rape could be the subject of a joke.

“I just don’t understand what kind of joke is it when a person is murdered in a cruel way,” she said yesterday.

Rachana had started an online petition last week asking for both presenters to tender apologies for the comments and for Hang Meas to ensure that its reporters were sensitised to reporting on women’s issues, adding that she would send it to the station and to the Information Ministry.

Ros Sopheap, from Gender and Development for Cambodia, said his apology was meaningless.

“It really shows his understanding about women is very limited,” she said.

MOST VIEWED

  • Government hits back at threats to pull EBA, suspend UN seat

    The spokesman for the ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) has said the government is in no way concerned after the European Parliament gave it three months to reverse what it called the “systematic repression of the political opposition”. Ignoring the ultimatum could mean facing

  • Chinese influx pushing locals, Westerners out of Preah Sihanouk

    Some within the Kingdom’s tourism industry have speculated that the recent influx of Chinese visitors may hinder domestic tourism as the price of accommodations in the coastal city of Sihanoukville continues to rise. Preah Sihanouk province, which has become a hotbed for Chinese investment

  • Sar Kheng: Sokha requested security

    Interior Minister Sar Kheng on Sunday revealed the story behind the transfer of former opposition party leader Kem Sokha from Trapaing Phlong prison in Tbong Khmum province to his house in the capital. Speaking at the ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) headquarters in Prey

  • Chinese living in Kingdom more than doubles since ’17

    The number of Chinese nationals living in Cambodia this year has increased to more than 210,000. The figure rose from last year’s 100,000, the newly appointed Secretary of State Sok Phal confirmed yesterday. He said: “Of the 210,000, more than 78,000 are living in Preah Sihanouk [province], but