Nhan Dan, the media mouthpiece of the Communist Party of Vietnam, launched its first Cambodian bureau yesterday in the latest addition to Cambodia’s media landscape.
The bureau, whose name means “people”, joins fellow state-run outlet Xinhua, China’s official news service, which has offices near the Independence Monument.
The move was hailed by the government but met with suspicion by one media analyst who questioned how the coverage could be independent.
Speaking at a launch ceremony yesterday at the Phnom Penh Hotel, Thuan Huu, who is a member of the Communist Party of Vietnam’s Central Committee, the Nhan Dan newspaper editor-in-chief, and the chairman of the Vietnamese Journalists Association, said that the agency hopes to promote the dissemination of news on Vietnamese policies and the socioeconomic achievements of the two countries.
“It will also promptly reflect all aspects of politics, economics, and society in Vietnam and Cambodia, helping to strengthen the traditional friendship and solidarity between the two peoples,” he said.
Truong Son, head of the bureau, or “representative office,” said there will be two reporters, and the news will be sent back to be printed in the paper in Vietnam and published online. Asked what kinds of stories the reporters plan on writing, Son said they will “cover all”.
Nhan Dan also has bureaus in France, China, Thailand and Laos.
Information Minister Khieu Kanharith said that Vietnamese media have a long history in Cambodia, including sending a Nhan Dan journalist after the end of the Khmer Rouge in 1979 to help set up a local newspaper.
But Pa Nguon Teang, executive director of the Cambodian Center for Independent Media, was less enthusiastic. “They want to collect information for their party,” Nguon Teang said.
“I do not have a belief that this newspaper is independent because in Vietnam it is strictly serving only the party so if the newspaper is not independent it does not offer interests for the people.”