Cambodian Journalism Review

King Father’s Tolerance Legacy for Journalists
October 22, 2012, 3:27 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

King Father’s Tolerance Legacy for Journalists

By Cambodia Institute for Media Studies

October 22, 2012


                The Cambodia Institute for Media Studies as well as other Cambodian journalists would like to join other Khmer people in mourning the great loss of our King Father Samdech Preah Norodom Sihanouk, who passed away on October 15, 2012.


                In addition to his numerous achievements for Cambodia and the Cambodian people, our revered King Father has left behind a great legacy of tolerance for the media and journalists as a role model in establishing democracy and in the respect for press freedoms and freedom of expression in Cambodia.


      It should be recalled that in December 1994 the King Father Norodom Sihanouk urged the government not to enact a press law that mandated criminal penalties for a variety of offenses, including insulting the Crown.


                “As far as I am concerned, I declare once again that no journalists be punished or hauled before the court because of me, because of their attacks (be they unjust or slanderous) against me,” the King Father was quoted by the media as saying in a statement read by Sieng Lapresse, then-spokesman for the Information Ministry.


                As a result, no articles in the Khmer Press Law adopted in July 1995 had any provisions that carried criminal punishments for journalists for insulting the monarchy. Likewise, no Cambodian journalists appeared to have ever insulted the King Father or the monarchy.


                However, government officials did not seem to have tolerance like the King Father toward the Cambodian media and have arrested and put journalists in jail one after another for expressing their opinions and exercising their legitimate right as enshrined in the Cambodian Constitution and the Khmer Press Law.


                According to media reports, it has been suggested that all political prisoners should be pardoned and released out of the respect for our late King Father. To start with, we hope that the government will release Mr. Mam Sonando, the owner of the Beehive Radio, who has been sentenced to 20 years in jail for the so-called secessionist movement in order to strengthen our free press and democracy.




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