Cambodian Journalism Review

KR Media’s Reported Challenges Worrisome
March 5, 2008, 2:40 am
Filed under: Press Freedom

Opinion, The Cambodia Daily

Wednesday, March 5, 2008, Page 27 

KR Media’s Reported Challenges Worrisome


t’s quite worrying that journalists are facing a new challenge in trying to report and get close to Khmer Rouge defendants (“Tensions Mount Between ECCC officials, Media,” March 3, page 1).

         Given the legal restrictions imposed by the ECCC, we are worried that one of the objectives of the tribunal will not be achieved. Unlike most other war crimes tribunals, the Khmer Rouge Tribunal is held inside Cambodia with the intention to have as much public participation in the process as possible.

         For most members of the public – who do not have direct access to the ECCC – they have had access to the court through the media. But with all the restrictions on the media, they cannot now fully participate in the process.

         On the other hand, the concepts of a war crimes tribunal is still very new to Cambodian journalists who have limited understanding of this complicated legal system. If they fear that they risk getting into trouble with the court, they may well avoid reporting sensitive stories all together.

         Though Cambodian media professionals have much improved, many still report on the surface of the stories, which are based on announcements and press releases from the ECCC. The real stories that the public wants to read and hear are answers from the Khmer Rouge leaders and other defendants, and whether this tribunal it is able to find justice for the victims without corruption, irregularities and political influence.

         It’s good that the ECCC has become a role model for Cambodian judicial system for being much more open to the public. But it’s not enough, and the ECCC should not have too many restrictions.

Moeun Chhean Nariddh,

Phnom Penh


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