BANGKOK, Thailand (AP)-A U.N. agency working along the Thai-Cambodian border has
won a complaint against a British television program that alleged the Khmer Rouge
built a munitions warehouse on U.N.-owned land.
According to the U.N. Border Relief Operation (UNBRO), Britain's government-appointed
Broadcasting Complaints Commission upheld the UNBRO's complaint against Central Television,
which in October 1990 broadcast the film "Cambodia, the Betrayal" by Australian
producer John Pilger. Central Television is part of Britain's independent commercial
The British program examined the attitude of the West to the possible return to power
of the Khmer Rouge and the role of western governments in supporting their guerrilla
activities over the last 13 years.
During the program, Pilger stated that, "our sources tell us" the land
on which a Khmer Rouge warehouse was located "is owned by the United Nations
Border Relief Operation (UNBRO) and leased to the United States government,"
who in turn allowed it to be used by the Khmer Rouge.
The commission said it did not consider this statement unfair because it was attributed
to sources and not presented a matter of fact.
"In other respects, however, the commission found the complaint justified,"
the ruling said.
The commission was not persuaded that the program had sufficient-or indeed any-evidence
of UNBRO's involvement as a body to justify Pilger's comment, "This is ironic-a
humanitarian agency renting its property to a foreign government which allows the
Khmer Rouge to use it as a military base."