Cambodian Journalism Review

Democracy in a flash
October 21, 2007, 9:29 am
Filed under: Commentary, Democracy



Democracy in a flash

By Moeun Chhean Nariddh



ollowing a protracted political crisis that has put Cambodian democracy on hold, the government’s latest “lightening policy” seemed to have shown a bright path for Cambodia to move forward.

I am pleased to see that together with this “lightening policy” the government has dropped all charges against human rights activists, journalists and opposition politicians and that these political figures and journalists could resume their work.

Nonetheless, the solutions to this political stalemate did not really come through the rule of law and democratic concepts. Instead, it has come through the confessions of mistakes made by different activists and politicians who said they had “wrongly” criticized the government.

By surrendering themselves to the government, it appears like the activists and opposition politicians are embarking on a leaking boat of Cambodia with the government. While the water in the boat is rising and may eventually sink the boat, they may just stay quiet and turn a blind eye to this problem.

In a true democracy, we need an independent observer, the opposition party and the media who can expose and correct the mistakes made by the government. We also need a government that is open to sincere criticism and scrutiny made by the public.

As Cambodians who have already experienced too much turmoil and misery during the last 30 years, we welcome any solutions that can bring about peace, stability and national reconciliation for the country.

However, I am worried that the “lightening policy” of the government may only cast an abrupt light and everything will turn dark again afterward. While it is a worthwhile policy, in the long run Cambodia needs to find solutions that are based on the rule of law and democratic principles.


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