Thursday, 1 October 2009

Gov’t Rejects RFA Report over Cambodia Daily Defamation

Written by DAP NEWS -- Wednesday, 30 September 2009
(Post by CAAI News Media)

The Cambodian Government on Tuesday rejected a Radio Free Asia (RFA) analyst’s report over the Phnom Penh Municipal Prosecutors’ ruling to convict two staff of the Cambodia Daily newspaper and fine them each CR 4 million in a case centered around Ho Vann, an opposition Sam Rainsy Party lawmaker. Ho Vann allegedly criticized the degrees conferred by a Vietnamese military upon senior Cambodian army officers, according to an article in the Daily. He was found innocent of defamation.

Kim Pov Soton’s report on Tuesday morning took the form of interviews with journalists who gave their own opinions of the ruling.

“Following the RFA broadcast, I would like to clarify that the rules of the court’s were followed and implemented by lawful means and its process was not under any political pressure,” Tith Sothea, Government advisor and media liaison for the Council for Ministers Office, told reporters. Speaking of the issue of the Cambodia Daily in question, he said “It is not professional journalism, which affect others’ dignity and reputation.”

Kim Pov Soton on Tuesday said that this report was an analysis in which she merely interviewed other journalists.

“It is the opinion of those journalists, which is not an RFA opinion,” she added.

However, Tith Sothea urged journalists to adhere to the profession’s strict code of ethics, and not to compromise their coverage for any reason.

“The response of the Council Ministers is only to clarify to those journalists who gave their own opinion in this case,” Kim Pon Soton stated.

“If the court ruled to Ho Vann lost the verdict, protest and criticisms would be more than this,” Tith Sothea claimed.

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