Cambodian Journalism Review

Premier’s Attack on Foreign Media Offers Lessons
July 27, 2011, 8:58 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

Premier’s Attack on Foreign Media Offers Lessons

Letter to The Cambodia Daily, 27 July 2011


Many Cambodian journalists were concerned but not surprised at Prime Minister Hun Sen’s recent criticism of Radio Free Asia and Voice of America Radio as reported in Monday’s Cambodia Daily, “Hun Sen Talks Tribunal, Blasts US-Funded Radio” (page 24).

First, journalists working for different local media outlets look at the two American radio stations and  other foreign-language media as a professional standard and to measure how far they can go in terms of pushing the limits of press freedoms in Cambodia.

The verbal attack on these international news organizations can have a domino effect on Cambodian media, who may tone down their criticism of the government.
This will do more bad than good for the government and Cambodian democracy.

For Cambodia and her democracy to flourish, the government needs a robust and critical press to provide the checks and balances on its performance.

Second, the media also needs criticism and scrutiny by the government and the public to improve its professional standards.

RFA and VOA and other media organizations should thank the prime minister for his criticism.

The phone-hacking scandal in Britain is a good example of where things can go wrong, even a most professional press, if it is not regularly scrutinized.

I hope the government and the media can learn to respect and listen to one another to improve our democracy and press freedoms.

Moeun Chhean Nariddh
Cambodia Institute for Media Studies


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