Archive for May 4th, 2007

Thursday, 3.5.2007: Cambodian Center for Human Rights Demands Closure of Ministry of Information

Posted on 4 May 2007. Filed under: Week 506 |

The Mirror, Vol. 11, No. 506

“The Cambodian Center for Human Rights released a statement on 2 May 2007 asking the government to close the Ministry of Information, because the Ministry is not able to organize institutions and ministries to appoint officials or staff to be in charge of information properly, so that the access to information and communication would be facilitated. However, the statement has not received a reaction by the Minister of Information.

“Mr. Ou Vireak, the President of the Cambodian Center for Human Rights, who has just been promoted to this position after Mr. Kem Sokha left to create a party, said that in Cambodia today, the Minister is managing information and decides who can be given a license to run a radio or television station. This is a serious obstacle to press freedom, because information which is controlled by an individual may be blocked or exaggerated. The reasons mentioned above make it impossible for some independent news media to receive statements or to attend press conferences.

“He continued stating his expectation that at institutions or ministries, such as the National Assembly, the courts, or other state institutions, there should be officials in charge of information, so that it would be easy for information and communication.

“Mr. Khieu Kanharith, the Minister of Information and the spokesperson of the government, did not seriously react, but he asked those who released the statement to consider the scope of the important work of the Ministry of Information before they do something else.

“So far, some national and international civil society organizations and news agencies have criticized the institutions and ministries of not serving the interests of the people in general. And also some government officials avoid meeting journalists to give explanations, when they want to ask officials about something. In addition, some officials, when they commit corruption and when journalists want to ask them for an explanation, they avoid meeting the journalists and even switch off their phones. Then, when their scandals become public knowledge, they accuse journalists of defamation. This is an old bad trick of government officials. Therefore, people in democratic countries should cooperate to provide proper information. Moreover, not all journalists who meet officials are asking them for money, because the journalists who want information are different from the journalists who just want money.

“The statement of the Cambodian Center for Human Rights on 2 April 2007 [sic – but maybe 2 May?] said that on the occasion of the World Press Freedom Day on 3 May 2007, the Cambodian Center for Human Rights asks the head of government of the Kingdom of Cambodia to close the Ministry of Information. The cabinet of the Prime Minister may have to have a spokesperson, but that same individual should not have the right to decide on the licensing of news media at the same time. Ministries, the National Assembly, the courts, and other state institutions should have officials or staff to be in charge of information and public communication. The role of these officials should serve the media and provide the journalists with the information they need, so that they can fulfill their role in a democratic society. Specialized institutions supervised by the respective ministries, rather than by only one ministry, should have the burden to manage the information controlled by the state, give licenses for journalistic activities to private companies, and allocate the use of [radio and TV] frequencies, and take care of other issues relating to news media.

“Mr. Ou Vireak, the President of the Cambodian Center for Human Rights, said, ‘In Cambodia today, the fact that the Minister alone controls the flow of information and decides who gets a license to run a radio or a television station is a serious obstacle to press freedom.’ He continued, ‘The negative impact caused by the concentration of power is that the information that every individual has the right to receive, is blocked or exaggerated. Some independent news media or journalists do not receive press releases or invitations to attend press conferences by the government. The newspapers that criticize the authorities and their officials are threatened with the withdrawal of licenses from the Ministry of Information. Some companies and civil society organizations, which are competent to run radio or television education programs, are refused licenses with unclear reasons.’

“The belief that information should be controlled by the state reflects just a general understanding of dictatorships. The [former] Soviet Unions had created its ministry of information in order to use it as a means for ideological propaganda. After the collapse of communism in Eastern Europe and Asia, many states, which have now achieved independence, continue keeping their ministries of information as normal. For example in [the territories of former] Russia, in the states of Belarus or Kazakhstan, the ministries still play important roles in oppressing press freedom. Mr. Ou Vireak said, ‘The Cambodian Government should reconsider whether it should take this example or not. Except for some special cases, we don’t see that ministries of information exist in really democratic countries.’” Samleng Yuvachun Khmer, Vol.14, #3025, 3.5.2007

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Thursday, 3 May 2007

Deum Ampil, Vol.2, #17, 2-8.5.2007

  • US: Corruption May Make Cambodia Become Shelter for Terrorists

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.6, #1329, 3.5.2007

  • Much Smuggled Gasoline Imported through Oddar Meanchey Border Crossings
  • Smuggled Gas Still Imported [from Thailand] to Banteay Meanchey

Khmer Mekong, Vol.5, #265, 1-2.5.2007

  • Foreign Judges Attend Meeting after Bar Association of the Kingdom of Cambodia Has Decreased Fees [to act at Khmer Rouge trials] from US$4,900 to US$500

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.14, #3148, 3.5.2007

  • Sam Rainsy Party Urges Amendment of Election Law
  • Chhang Youk [Director of the Documentation Center of Cambodia]: Tribunal Must Use Time to Find Justice While Former Khmer Rouge Leaders Are Alive
  • Mr. Yim Sovann [SRP parliamentarian from Phnom Penh]: If Corruption Is Not Prevented, It May Make Cambodia Vulnerable to Terrorism

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.15, #4274, 3.5.2007

  • Cambodia and Japan Plan to Sign Agreements on Trade and Investment

Samleng Yuvachun Khmer, Vol.14, #3025, 3.5.2007

  • Cambodian Center for Human Rights Demands Closure of Ministry of Information

Sralanh Khmer, Vol.3, #390, 3.5.2007

  • Samdech Euv [Father King] Invites Mr. Sam Rainsy and Wife for Dinner to Royal Palace

Go to last week’s editorial

Back to top

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

Wednesday, 2.5.2007: IRI Decides to Stop Aid While Mr. Kem Sokha Announces Creation of Party

Posted on 4 May 2007. Filed under: Week 506 |

The Mirror, Vol. 11, No. 506

Committee for Finding the Truth Affirms that Mr. Kem Sokha Cannot Avoid Legal Responsibility Over Involvement in Corruption

“Phnom Penh: The International Republican Institute [IRI] of the United States of America, which was the only big donor of the Cambodian Center for Human Rights [CCHR], decides to stop its assistance completely from 1 May 2007, while Mr. Kem Sokha announced the creation of a new political party to participate in the general elections in 2008. The committee for finding the truth created by former members of the staff of the CCHR affirmed that Mr. Kem Sokha cannot avoid legal responsibility related to involvement in corruption.

“A press release dated 28 April 2007, signed by this committee for finding the truth, created by former staff members of the CCHR, says that the IRI decided to stop its aid completely as of 1 May 2007. As for the aid for the [radio program] Voice of Democracy, it will be decreased to one hour for a daily news program from June, to be stopped completely on 30 September 2007.

“At the same time, Mr. Kem Sokha announced the creation of a new political party to participate in the fourth term parliamentary elections in 2008.

“Mr. Kem Sokha told Rasmei Kampuchea by phone on the afternoon of 30 April 2007 that he is creating a party called Cambodian Human Rights Party. He has already submitted an application, and he will register the party in the list of political parties at the Ministry of Interior in May. After that, the first congress of the party will be held in July.

“Mr. Kem Sokha said that at this time he only thinks about the creation of the Cambodian Human Rights Party. He has not yet thought about merging with any other political party. However, he said that in the future it depends on the citizens, because the party belongs to the citizens.

“Mr. Kem Sokha also said that he would be no longer a valid president of the CCHR after the end of April.

“The committee for finding the truth of the former staff members stated in the press release their conclusion that the issue, that that Mr. Kem Sokha returns to politics and creates a party, is an individual’s political right, but it is not a way to avoid legal responsibility over involvement in corruption and defamation that Mr. Kem Sokha committed while he was the president of the CCHR.

“The committee for finding the truth stated that in response to a number of complaints that it has made against Mr. Kem Sokha, accusing him of corruption (such as the cheating related to aid money, partisanship, and violation of staff member’s rights) and defamation, the court has issued warrants to summon the plaintiff, the defendant, and witnesses to provide further explanations. These are the first actions of the court which applies legal procedures.

“Concerning the accusations by the committee for finding the truth, Mr. Kem Sokha told Rasmei Kampuchea, ‘That is an old and again the same issue, we have already solved it, and the donor also stated this. Therefore I have no more comments.’” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.15, #4272, 1.5.2007

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Tuesday and Wednesday, 1 and 2 May 2007

Chakraval, Vol.15, #2675, 1.5.2007

  • US Prepares to Try Chhun Yasith [head of the Cambodian Freedom Fighters organization in the USA] in July; Cambodia Prepares to Send Eleven Witnesses [according to Hok Lundy, Director-General of National Police]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.6, #1328, 2.5.2007

  • More Than 20,000 Liters of Smuggled Fuel Seized by Customs Officers in Prey Veng

Khmer Amatak, Vol.8, #469, 2.5.2007

  • Samdech Krom Preah Demands that the King to Cancel Unjust Verdict [against himself] by Phnom Penh Municipal Court

Koh Santepheap, Vol.40, #6027, 1.5.2007

  • International Judges Welcome Decrease of Registration Fees for Foreign Lawyers [at Khmer Rouge trials]
  • National Assembly Adopts Law against Money Laundering and Financing of Terrorism

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.14, #3146, 1.5.2007

  • Mr. Yim Sovann [Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian from Phnom Penh]: Cambodia Gives Opportunity to US Dollars [used as regular currency in Cambodia] to Violate Sovereignty

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.14, #3147, 2.5.2007

  • Petition for Pay Rise and Action against Corruption Taken by Workers of 40 Factories to National Assembly
  • 9,057.75 sq km of 181,035 sq km of Current Cambodian Land Is Under Control by Private Companies [according to an expert on immovable property]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.15, #4272, 1.5.2007

  • IRI Decides to Stop Aid While Mr. Kem Sokha Announces Creation of Party
  • International Judges Stated that They Will Continue Meeting to Adopt the Internal Rules [for the Khmer Rouge trials] in Late May
  • New Zealand Government Plans to Spend US$1 Million per Year to Help People at Angkor Wat Area

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.15, #4273, 2.5.2007

  • Prime Minister Decides to Give Additional 4,000 Hectares of Teak Tree Plantations to People [Tboung Khmum, Dambae, and Ponhea Kraek, Kompong Cham]
  • German Research Group Provides Video about Angkor City of 12th Century to [Cambodian] Government
  • Publisher of Samleng Khmer Krom Was Killed by Stepson [for personal rancor]

Samleng Yuvachun Khmer, Vol.14, #3023, 1.5.2007

  • US Wants [Cambodian] Government to Remove Political Barrier for Samdech Krom Preah; Norodom Ranariddh Party Collects 200,000 People’s Thumbprints to Petition the King [for amnesty for Prince Ranariddh]

Go to last week’s editorial

Back to top

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

Liked it here?
Why not try sites on the blogroll...