Friday, December 13, 2013

Newfound outrage questioned

Kevin Ponniah, The Phnom Penh Post, Dec. 13, 2013

The government and a local press club’s reaction to an attack on a state-media cameraman earlier this week stands in stark contrast to their response following what many believe was a government-orchestrated assault on a group of journalists in September.

The differing response highlights continued discrimination against independent and pro-opposition media, media analysts said yesterday.

National Television of Kampuchea (TVK) cameraman Seng Chan was accused by a monk of being a government lackey at the opposition’s Human Rights Day protest in Phnom Penh on Tuesday and was attacked by the crowd before being escorted to a police station by party security.

Following the event, Information Minister Khieu Kanharith lambasted the opposition on his Facebook page.

“Their security attacked a reporter like he was a dog or a cat so [they should] stop blaming us for not broadcasting their story,” he wrote.

State news agency AKP on Wednesday reported the incident, citing Kanharith and a statement from the Club of Cambodian Journalists (CCJ) that condemned the attack and called on the authorities to take legal action against the perpetrators.

On September 22, reporters from numerous foreign and local media outlets were attacked with slingshots, batons and electric prods by plainclothes thugs in face masks as police looked on while covering a peaceful land rights vigil at Wat Phnom.

But in the aftermath, the Ministry of Information, state media and the CCJ remained silent, despite the incident being condemned by global watchdog the Committee to Protect Journalists.

Pa Nguon Teang, head of the Cambodian Center for Independent Media, said the differing treatment of the incidents suggested government discrimination against independent or pro-opposition journalists.

“I think it [was] clear when the pro-government media and Khieu Kanharith didn’t say anything about the incident that happened at Wat Phnom, it [was] because they consider themselves as part of the government, and they know clearly that the incident was created by the government,” he said.

“But in this [recent] incident, the opposition party organised it, so they expressed something … to try to gain political benefit.” Nguon Teang added that the CCJ, though supposedly independent, were “careful” not to tread on the government’s toes.

Mouen Chhean Nariddh, director of the Cambodia Institute for Media Studies, said that as the attack at Wat Phnom “was politically motivated”, the government could not respond in the same way. “It’s sad, because I think as minister of information, [Kanharith] should have taken some action. He [should] respond strongly to any attacks against journalists.”

Kanharith yesterday defended his decision not to speak out about the Wat Phnom attack, though he did not explain why state media failed to report on the incident.

“The call was already made by different associations [following the incident]. For TVK, it is my duty to protect my staff,” he said in an email.

Chhay Sophal, a CCJ board member, referred the Post to a September 25 statement that called for political parties to avoid threatening journalists but did not specify any incidents or directly mention the Wat Phnom attack.

When asked why the CCJ released a detailed statement calling for investigation immediately after Monday’s incident in comparison, Sophal said the September statement was designed to address a number of incidents.

“[It involved] a group of journalists … but the day before yesterday, it was only TVK and that’s why we released another statement.”



Anonymous said...

the lack of cooperation and agreement between the two main political parties make this kind of finger point possible!

Anonymous said...

Tell me who invited the National Television of Kampuchea (TVK) cameraman Seng Chan to the pro-opposition party protest? Who?

Nobody did and why did cameraman Seng Chan still want to come? Come to do what? Come to spy, to gather evidence, and come to destroy the pro-opposition image?

Well... in part and AH Seng Chan had achieved his goal!

I have to wonder when AH HUN SEN Vietcong slave has political rally and does AH HUN SEN allow the pro-opposition cameraman to come in and take pictures of the his political rally? Of course not! But the pro-opposition still manage to take any picture of AH HUN SEN political rally! Why can AH Seng Chan do the same? Why he has to show off his political connection? AH Seng Chan is such a dumb ass and he deserved what coming for him!

Anonymous said...

េតីនាំគ្នាធ្វេីបាតុកម្មដេីម្បីអ្វី ?

Anonymous said...

To 3:11PM

First of all AH HUN SEN Vietcong slave never want any protest to take place and he want Cambodian people to shut the fuck up! So AH HUN SEN Vietcong slave doesn't need to know anything regarding the opposition party! Cambodian people want the democratic countries around to the world to know the suffering and the oppression under AH HUN SEN Vietcong slave dictatorship for the last 30 years! The Cambodian people want the United Nations,the world, and the Human Right to know...

Even if AH HUN SEN Vietcong slave knew what is going on and he will call upon his military and his police to put down the rally and the protest by the use of force, and his court to frame Cambodian people for jail time!

Tell me you live in the Kingdumb of Wonder!

Anonymous said...

Ah Sva minister of information was a begger in Vietnam when he was a refugee.. His boss said close the door fight the dog, but he said ride the car as a dog. These two are the same they both keep khmer people as what we are waiting for? We animal , we have to joint
Together and kill them.

Anonymous said...

Culture of denocide and violent that how khmer are?