Kem Gunawadh, one of the founders of the state-run TVK television station in the 1980s and its director-general for the past 13 years, has retired and been replaced by his deputy, Khim Vuthy, Ministry of Information spokesman Ouk Kimseng said yesterday.
Gunawadh began his career shortly after the January 1979 fall of the Khmer Rouge at the radio station of the Vietnamese-backed People’s Republic of Kampuchea, before helping to establish TVK in 1983. He had served as director-general since 2004.
His successor, the 37-year-old Vuthy, replaced Gunawadh formally on Saturday, according to a Royal Decree dated the same day. Kimseng, the ministry spokesman, said that he was not aware of the reasons that Vuthy was selected for the station’s top job.
“The ones who made the decision are my superiors, and this is beyond my capabilities, because I was not one of the decision-makers,” Kimseng said, explaining only that Gunawadh had to leave his job as he had reached the civil service age of retirement.
Kimseng added that Vuthy had served TVK for many years as a presenter and anchor.
“Before being promoted, he was a deputy director-general of TVK, and his work was as an anchor . . . and a presenter,” Kimseng said. He said that Vuthy was about to take the reigns of a state television station much better equipped than before.
“He has good fortune when he goes to take his new director-general position, because TVK has new equipment, as the old equipment had been [in use for] more than 10 or 20 years.”
Reached by telephone, Gunawadh and Vuthy both declined to comment on the switch.
Information Minister Khieu Kanharith did not respond to requests for comment about Vuthy’s appointment, but in a comment on a Facebook post that was widely shared he appeared to say that he too had been unaware of Vuthy’s pending appointment to the job.
Gunawadh long defended TVK against claims of partiality toward the ruling party. He also previously resigned as the station’s director in May 2014 – ostensibly after the station failed to broadcast the Royal Ploughing Ceremony – but was re-appointed two weeks later.