29 April 2011
Excerpt translation from the Free Press Magazine
Click here to read the entire article in Khmer
On Thursday, a representative of the World Khmer Radio (WKR) station has rejected the accusation made Sourn Srey Ratha who claimed that WKR threatened one of its employees because she worked for Sourn Serey Ratha’s People Power radio station. Sourn Serey Ratha alleged that WKR used the name of the Ministry of Interior (MoI) to make the threat. WKR also rejected this accusation.
San Suwidh, the administrator of WKR, reacted by saying that Sourn Serey Ratha distorted the truth on WKR administrators. “I and Mr. Ok Soeum never threatened any WKR employee. We understand their freedom. I believe that Mr. Sourn Serey Ratha is painting a very bad picture out of WKR which is working hard to serve the public interest under a lot of difficulties,” San Suwidh said.
San Suwidh indicated that WKR is currently facing difficulties in Cambodia and it had to close its office in Phnom Penh because the landlord cancelled their lease after he received a (threat) letter from a man who claimed to be the personal aid of Sar Kheng, the minister of Interior.
“Therefore, this is not like what Sourn Serey Ratha accused us of when he claimed that we used a letter from the MoI to threaten our employees. To the contrary, WKR has been victimized by this letter [from the MoI]. We closed our office in Phnom Penh and we only preserved our volunteer workers and asking them to work from various locations in Cambodia.”
It should be noted that Sourn Serey Ratha’s accusation letter was issued after Ms. Khieu Ratana refused to continue working for his People Power’s station, after she helped reporting for this station twice.
In an interview given to the Free Press Magazine, Ms. Khieu Ratana indicated that the accusation made Sourn Serey Ratha is all wrong. “I never received any warning from the chairman or the administrators of WKR, telling me not to work for any other news media, including the People Power radio station,” Ratana indicated.
“I did talk to colleagues of Uncle Sourn Serey Ratha about a letter sent by the MoI involving my name, but I never said that the [WKR] chairman issued any warning on me. I regret very much that Uncle Sourn Serey Ratha defames the WKR’s name – a station where I serve the public for the past two years.”
An electronic copy of a letter issued by Kim Van Chheng, who claimed to be the personal aid of Sar Kheng, the minister of Interior, indicated that: “According to the MoI, we learn that workers for the WKR in Phnom Penh have been involved with the People Power radio station belonging to Mr. Sourn Serey Ratha who is based in the US. This radio station is opposed to the Cambodian government led by our Decho Hun Xen, and one of your employees had already joined [the People Power station]”.
In the same letter, Kim Van Chheng also wrote: “I am informing you that if you continue to allow WKR employees to serve trends that are opposed to the Cambodian government, without respecting their professional code of ethic, the office of your radio station in Phnom Penh will face problem.”
Kim Van Chheng could not be reached to provide further clarification on this issue, but the Freedom and Press Monitor in Cambodia are investigating on this threat letter allegedly issued by Kim Van Chheng.