Cambodian Journalism Review

Don’t Count on Democracy – Look for Its Fruits
October 21, 2007, 10:15 am
Filed under: Letters


The Cambodia Daily, February 22, 2006

Don’t Count on Democracy – Look for Its Fruits



would just like to remind all political observers and human rights activists, particularly Cambodian Center for Human Rights President Kem Sokha, not to be overjoyed by the government’s seemingly positive stance towards democracy (“Kem Sokha Letter Praises Hun Sen on Democracy,” The Cambodia Daily, Feb 21, page16).

We are certainly pleased to see the latest move by Prime Minister Hun Sen to restore Cambodia’s dream for democracy, especially his pledge to remove the criminal punishment for defamation from the law.

The government’s behavior – which is a spectacular U-turn given the recent nightmare for democracy – may merely be to satisfy the international community before the Consultative Group meeting next month when the foreign donors will promise more financial aid to Cambodia.

As a matter of fact, the government has yet to finish their unfinished work they promised during the last CG meeting, such as implementing various reforms, adopting the anti-corruption law and an access-to-information act.

To prove that the government is really upholding democracy, free press and free speech, we would like to see the government provide an equal access to everyone to freely establish radio and TV stations.

The most accurate appraisal of the Prime Minister and the government in terms of their efforts to build democracy in Cambodia will be the result of the 2008 general election.

If this election is going to be truly free and fair and its result accepted by the majority of the people, then the Prime Minister may be able to claim the title of “the Champion of Democracy.”

Moeun Chhean Nariddh

Phnom Penh



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