The Club of Cambodian Journalists and the European Union Cooperate to Encourage the Free Flow of Information in Cambodia – Tuesday, 1.6.2010

Posted on 2 June 2010. Filed under: Week 667 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 667

“Phnom Penh: The Club of Cambodian Journalists and the European Commission Delegation to Cambodia jointly organized a workshop about public relations with the aim to strengthen press relations with other institutions, to foster the free flow of information in Cambodia.

“There were more than 20 participants from organizations supported by the European Union and the Senate that attend this important workshop.

“The Charge d’Affairs of the European Commission Delegation to Cambodia, Mr. Rafael Dochao Morena, said during the workshop that ‘Public relations are very important in delivering information to the public and to strengthen relations between institutions and the public. The participants in this workshop will gain knowledge about basis concepts of public relations.’

“The Minister of Information, Mr. Khieu Kanharith, pointed out the importance of the workshop, saying that it is a field that the Royal Government of Cambodia supports, in order to ensure press freedom.

“This 5-day workshop, from 31 May to 4 June 2010, aims mainly at encouraging the free publication of information to serve the public interest. Participants will learn theory and actual experiences for effective press relations. Through the presentations of many speakers, experienced in both public relations and the press, participants will gain basic knowledge to help public relations officials or information officials from different organizations and institutions to fulfill their duties more effectively with the press in Cambodia.

“The president of the Club of Cambodian Journalists, Mr. Pen Samitthy, said that some organizations and institutions complain about their difficulties in working with journalists. Some criticize that the press does not help publish information about their activities, while journalists complain that they lack access to information that they should cover, for their publications to the public. He said, ‘Because of such complaints, the Club of Cambodian Journalists sees that there is a gap of understanding between public relations officials of different organizations and institutions on one side, and journalists on the other.’ He added that everybody must know clearly that the priority mission of journalists is to publish information that serves the public interest, but journalists cannot be propagandists who serve the interests of specific organizations or institutions. It is the duty of public relations officials or information officers to encourage the publication of activities of their organizations or institutions. For the benefit of the press, the workshop aims at organizations and institutions to have their own information officers in order to effectively offer information to journalists. This is also the goal of the Club of Cambodian Journalists, always encouraging the appointment of spokespersons at many institutions to ensure public access to information.

“The Club of Cambodian Journalists is an independent organization, created to serve the interests of journalists and to protect them, as well as to promote press freedom and to strengthen journalism in Cambodia.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5212, 1.6.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Tuesday, 1 June 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #492, 1.6.2010

  • Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen: The Chinese Government Talks Less but Does Much
  • Two People Died and Five Were Wounded, and Many Houses Were Destroyed in Siem Reap [by a rainstorm]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2263, 1.6.2010

  • Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen Inaugurated the Cambodian-Chinese Friendship Bridge at Prek Kdam [across the Tonle Sap river – Kandal]
  • A Family [husband, wife, and their son] Were Convicted to Serve 20 Years in Prison for Killing a Kompong Thom Fishery Official [Phnom Penh]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #670, 1.6.2010

  • [The acting president of the Sam Rainsy Party] Kong Korm Said That China Provides Aid to Cambodia without Setting Any Conditions, but China Receives Concession Land to Exploit Mineral Resources from Cambodia

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6970, 1.6.2010

  • Children Faced Violation in 2009: There Were 278 Cases of Human Rights Violations against Children, 209 Cases Were Rape [according to the Khmer Census League and the Cambodian League for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights (LICADHO), announced during the International Children Day]
  • [About 300] Ou Russey Market Vendors Asked [the Prime Minister] to Restrain the Roth Sensopheap Company [as this company, the market administrator, requires them to pay many types of fees, affecting their livelihood]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3894, 1.6.2010

  • [The Sam Rainy party parliamentarian] Yim Sovann Said that the Government Should Provide Concession Land with Contracts from 40 to 50 Years Only [so far, contracts for concession land were mostly for up to 99 years], and He Does Not Want to See that Contracts Lead to the Mistreatments of Citizens and to Land Disputes

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #183, 1.6.2010

  • Cambodia Needs More Than US$6 Billion for a Five-Year National Development Plan [from 2009 to 2013; according to a decision of the National Assembly]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5212, 1.6.2010

  • The Prime Minister Wants to Hold Military Exercises to Show [257] Military Trucks Donated by China [worth Yuan 100 million [approx. US$15 million]; this aid will be delivered on 18 June 2010]
  • 155 Families Filed Lawsuits against the An Marady Rubber Plantation Company after They Received Notifications that the Company Will Evict Them from Their Village [Kompong Cham]
  • The Club of Cambodian Journalists and the European Union Cooperate to Encourage the Free Flow of Information in Cambodia

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The Korean Ambassador to Cambodia Stressed the Place of Bilateral Ties with Cambodia Ahead of a Visit by the Korean President Next Week – Thursday, 15.10.2009

Posted on 16 October 2009. Filed under: Week 634 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 634 – Thursday, 15.10.2009

“Just a week before a visit by the South Korean President to Cambodia, the ambassador noticed that the pace of investment, of commerce, and of other ties between Cambodia and Korea has flourished significantly, making South Korea the country with the most investors in Cambodia and with the highest number of international tourists’ arrivals since the establishment of ties between both countries in 1997.

“The President of the Republic of Korea will lead a government and businesspeople’s delegation to make an official visit to the Kingdom of Cambodia for two days from 22 to 23 October 2009.

“During a roundtable meeting organized by the Club of Cambodian Journalists with support from the Konrad Adenauer Foundation of Germany on 14 October 2009 at the Hotel Cambodiana, the Korean Ambassador to Cambodia, Mr. Lee Kyung-Soo, said that the two-day visit by the Korean President in Cambodia is made in response to an invitation by Samdech Akkak Moha Senapadei Dekchor Hun Sen, who officially visited the Republic of Korea (South Korea) in June 2009.

“The Korean Ambassador to Cambodia, Mr. Lee Kyung-Soo, recounted the achievements of the Cambodian-Korean ties ahead of a visit by the head of the Korean government to Cambodia during the forum about cooperation between Cambodia and the Republic of Korea. He said that besides meeting with the King and top leaders of Cambodia, the South Korean President Lee Myung-Bak will attend talks with Cambodian and Korean investors in Phnom Penh.

“The Ambassador said that Korean investments in Cambodia increased up to US$2.7 Billion by 2007. In 2008, investments amounted US$1,238 million. He said these are figures from the Council for the Development of Cambodia. In the first six months of 2009, Korean investments amounted to only US$100 million, declining by 58% compared to the corresponding period in 2008. He went on to say that this was due to the global economic crisis, but not due to any other reasons.

“Ambassador Lee Kyung-Soo added that after establishing diplomatic ties in 1997, Korean investors invested in the garment sector, in tourism, and in mineral resources development. From 2007 onward, Korean investors invested also in construction, real estate, agriculture, industry, and finance and banking.

“As for commerce, Korean is in the 7th position of countries importing products to Cambodia, worth US$309 million, while Cambodia is in the 80th position of countries importing to South Korea, exporting products worth US$294 million.

“Also, South Korea is one of the important donors of Cambodia. Since 2001, there have been US$220 million in loans and US$46 million in grant aid.

“The Ambassador said during the forum with Cambodian journalists that at present, there are 8,400 Khmer people living (legally) in Korea, including Khmer workers, Khmer women married to Korean men, and Khmer students. Among these 8,400 Khmer people, 2,900 are Khmer women married to Korean men, and 4,900 workers. There are about 4,000 Korean people living in the Kingdom of Cambodia.

“According to an announcement of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Cambodia on 14 October 2009, during the official visit to Cambodia, Mr. Lee Myung-Bak will meet the King of Cambodia, Preah Karuna Preah Bat Samdech Preah Boromaneath Norodom Sihamony. Then he will meet in courtesey visits with the President of the Senate, Samdech Akkak Thoma Pothisal Chea Sim and the President of the National Assembly, Samdech Akkak Ponhea Chakrei Heng Samrin. He will have top bilateral meetings with the Cambodian Prime Minister, Samdech Akkak Moha Senapadei Dekchor Hun Sen.

“The announcement says that Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen and Mr. Lee Myung-Bak will witness a signing ceremony for two agreements between the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Cambodia, Mr. Hor Namhong, and the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Commerce of the Republic of Korea, Mr. Yu Myung-Wan – an extradition agreement, and an agreement on financial credits for economic development cooperation from 2009 to 2012.

“During the first official visit by the South Korean President, Mr. Lee Myung-Bak to Cambodia, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced that five more documents are expected to be signed also. 1. Agreement about cooperation between the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Republic of Korea and the Chamber of Commerce of Cambodia; 2. Agreement on cooperation to produce publications; 3. Memorandum of Understanding about cooperation in the mine sector; 4. Memorandum of Understanding about joint cooperation in exploring mineral resources; and 5. Memorandum of Understanding about cooperation in investments to plant trees and on problems of climate change.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #5021, 15.10.2009

.

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Thursday, 15 October 2009

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #311, 15.10.2009

  • Today the Cambodian Prime Minister Will Travel to China to Attend a [commercial and economic] Exhibition [some loan agreements are expected to be signed during his visiting]
  • South Korea Will Invest to Establish a Car Manufacturing Factory in Cambodia [the Hyundai company plans to establish a factory in Koh Kong]
  • Citizens Countrywide Spend US$69.5 Million per Year on Cigarettes [according to the Cambodia Movement for Health]
  • Thirteen More People Were Confirmed with Swine Flu [adding the number up to 146 in total in Cambodia]
  • Obama Agreed to Send 12,000 More Soldiers to Afghanistan [other sources of information say that no decision has been taken]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #2072, 15.10.2009

  • The Director of the [new, planned] Southeast Asian Radio and Television Station Was Arrested for Allegedly Taking US$7 Million [Phnom Penh – The Cambodia Daily of 15.10.2009 reports that the station will start to broadcast in January 2010]
  • The United Arab Emirates Plan to Invest in Rice Cultivation in Cambodia [according to a meeting between the Ministry of Water Resources and Meteorology of Cambodia, Mr. Lim Kean Hor, and the Minister of Economy of the United Arab Emirates, Sultan Bin Saeed Al Mansoori]
  • Road Tax Checking for 2009 Will Begin on 16 October 2009 Countrywide

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #509, 15.10.2009

  • For the Second Time the Appeals Court Rejected to Accept Mu Sochua’s Complaint [against Prime Minister Hun Sen for defamation] and It Will Not Summon [Prime Minister] Hun Sen for Questioning [while Ms. Mu Sochua had been fined Riel 16.5 million (approx. US$4,125), as a fine and as compensation, for losing in Prime Minister Hun Sen’s defamation case]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6779, 15.10.2009

  • Cambodia Is Waiting for an Official Response [which denies, according to press reports, that the Thai Foreign Minister would seek ASEAN’s approval for a “neutral organization” that “may provide an avenue for Thailand and Cambodia to settle the dispute”], but Cambodia Will Not Respond though the Media [according to the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Cambodia, Mr. Hor Namhong, Cambodia will raise the Khmer-Thai border disputes during the ASEAN summit]

Note:

In the meantime The Cambodia Daily reported from the official Thai response, which quotes an agreement achieved during the visit of Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva with Prime Minister Hun Sen: “Both sides agreed that the issue of the Temple of Phra Viharn be addressed through existing bilateral mechanisms between our two countries.”

It might also be remembered that there are multiple claims since many years on the Spratley Islands in the South China Sea, by the ASEAN members Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Vietnam (in addition to claims by China, and separately also by Taiwan), but the ASEAN member states have agreed that this conflict between member states of ASEAN should not be handled by ASEAN, as it might split the positions of the other ASEAN countries – and the countries concerned should work on their bilateral problems bilaterally.

Phnom Penh Post, Vol.1, #26, 15.10.2009

  • The National Assembly Adopted a Demonstration Law [less than 200 people can assemble at a public place with permission from the authorities, to be applied for at least 12 hours before]
  • [South] Korea Plans to Invest in a Hydro-Electric Dam at the Sesan River [US$700 million to generate 325 megawatt of electricity – Ratanakiri]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #5021, 15.10.2009

  • The Korean Ambassador to Cambodia Stressed the Place of Bilateral Ties with Cambodia Ahead of a Visit by the Korean President Next Week
  • More Than US$200 Million Is Needed to Reconstruct the 1,200 Irrigation Systems Countrywide [according to the Minister of Water Resources and Meteorology]

Sereypheap Thmey, Vol.17, #1808, 15.10.2009

  • The Government Maintains a Position to Solve the Border Disputes with Siam [Thailand] in the ASEAN Framework

.

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The German Government Announces to Suspend Aid for the Khmer Rouge Tribunal – Wednesday, 4.2.2009

Posted on 5 February 2009. Filed under: Week 598 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 598

“A delegation from Germany announced on Monday, 2 February 2009, that the government of Germany suspends all its aid for the Khmer Rouge Tribunal until corruption allegations at the international tribunal are solved, and the Berlin government encourages the fourth-term government of power holder Prime Minister Hun Sen, established by a combined vote, to provide a role also to oppositions parties in Cambodia, following democratic principles.

“Mr. Wolfgang Thierse, the vice-president of the German parliament, visiting Cambodia, said on Monday that the government of Germany halts funding for the Khmer Rouge Tribunal as long as the corruption allegations at this tribunal are not solved. Wolfgang Thierse said, ‘We will continue supporting the Khmer Rouge Tribunal, provided corruption allegations are cleared up, but all funding to be provided is now suspended.’

“On Monday morning, the delegation from Germany met with parliamentarians of the ruling Cambodian People’s Party [CPP], its partner Funcinpec, and the Norodom Ranariddh Party which is facing an internal fractional split. As for the alliance of the Democratic Movement for Change, comprising the Sam Rainsy Party and the Human Rights Party, they refused to join the meeting with the three parties mentioned above at the National Assembly, claiming that the oppositions parties do not hold positions in the nine commissions of the fourth-term National Assembly. However, on Monday evening, the opposition parties met with the delegation from Germany at a place outside of the National Assembly; to meet outside like this was regarded by the vice-president of the parliament of Germany as ‘correct,’ because the ruling party controls all positions of chairing all commissions of the National Assembly.

“A Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian from Kampot, Ms. Mu Sochua, said that the National Assembly is not a proper meeting place for the Sam Rainsy Party with Mr. Wolfgang Thierse. She went on to say, ‘We are not part of the commissions of the National Assembly. Therefore, we will not attend this meeting.’

“The Sam Rainsy Party and the Human Rights Party, which form an alliance, announced that the CPP had invited also the opposition parties to attend the meeting at the National Assembly, but the opposition parties held a meeting with the delegation from Germany separately from the ruling party, which controls both the government and the National Assembly, which is in contrast to democratic principles, and the CPP wants to eliminate the voice of the opposition parties, both in the government and in the National Assembly. Mr. Sam Rainsy said, ‘There is nothing to discuss. The government and the opposition parties should have separate meetings.’

“Mr. Wolfgang Thierse raised, during his meeting with Prime Minister Hun Sen on Monday, the importance of opposition parties in democracy, especially the role of opposition parties in the National Assembly, referring to an example in the parliament of Germany, where opposition parties control important commissions of the parliament, and all political parties having seats in the parliament have to cooperate in this legislative institution.

“The delegation from Germany will stay in Cambodia five days, and yesterday, Tuesday, the delegation from Germany boarded an airplane to Siem Reap, to meet members of the German Angkor Conservation Project, who are doing restoration work at the Angkor Wat temples.

“According to information from a group joining the visit of the delegation from Germany to Cambodia, this visit is also a response to concerns raised by the opposition parties, demanding that the European Parliament of the European Union intervenes, related to the control of all commissions of the National Assembly by the ruling CPP of Prime Minister Hun Sen, without involving the main opposition party which has 26 seats in the National Assembly.

“During a meeting with Prime Minister Hun Sen on Monday, Mr. Wolfgang Thierse encouraged strongman Hun Sen to clearly accept the opposition party’s role, both in the National Assembly and in the government, following democratic policies, if Hun Sen really accepts the free multi-party politics according to the Paris Peace Agreements of 1991. He emphasized that the ruling Cambodian People’s Party controls the government and the National Assembly, which makes democracy in Cambodia moving backwards, as it shuts up the voice of opposition parties [in parliamentary activities] in Cambodia.

“Regarding corruption at the Khmer Rouge Tribunal, Mr. Wolfgang Thierse clearly specified that the government of Germany has to stop all aid to this hybrid tribunal, suffering allegations of serious corruption. Because officials and judges of this tribunal are said to have paid kickbacks every month to three officials of the administration: to Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Council of Ministers Sok An, to the director of the Office of Administration of the tribunal Sean Visoth, and to the tribunal’s personnel section director Keo Thyvuth, for letting them work at this international tribunal.

“Mr. Wolfgang encouraged also to conduct a clear investigation about the complaint of [former Khmer Rouge leader] Nuon Chea’s defense lawyers, filed at the Phnom Penh Municipal Court, requesting this civil court to take action by investigating allegations of a corruption scandal, rumored since a long time at the Khmer Rouge Tribunal. If an investigation is not conducted properly, and the corruption allegation at this tribunal is not solved, the government of Germany will stop providing aid to this tribunal forever.

“According to information from the Khmer Rouge Tribunal, the director of administration of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal Sean Visoth, accused of having received kickbacks from tribunal officials, has not shown up for work for nearly one month, since international lawyers defending Nuon Chea lodged a complaint against him and against two other persons at the Phnom Penh Municipal Court on 9 January 2009. The Municipal Court is investigating this lawsuit, but the Phnom Penh Municipal Court, notorious for corruption, probably cannot discover corruption in the Khmer Rouge Tribunal.

“Legal observers in Cambodia said that they have little trust in the Phnom Penh Municipal Court to probe and bring officials of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal, involved in corruption, for prosecution according to the law, because some officials of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal are also working at the Phnom Penh Municipal Court, such as Yet Chakriya, who is the deputy co-prosecutor of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal, and he is also the newly nominated chief prosecutor of the Municipal Court. Therefore, Yet Chakriya cannot do anything against orders of higher officials, because he is afraid of being removed from his positions either at the Municipal Court or at the Khmer Rouge Tribunal.” Moneaksekar or Khmer, Vol.16, #3678, 4.2.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Wednesday, 4 February 2009

Kampuchea Thngai Nis, Vol.3, #398, 4-12.2.2009

  • The Club of Cambodian Journalists Becomes a Place to Create Spokespersons [a first five-weeks training is provided to 18 officials from state institutions and non-government organizations]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #1864, 4.2.2009

  • [Phnom Penh Municipal] Court Summons Mr. Sam Rainsy for the Second Time [over a complaint lodged against him by the National Assembly, as he has not paid Riel 10 million [approx. US$2,500] for a defamation charge about a speech during his election campaign in 2008]
  • Lawyers and [PJ] Prison Officials Deny that Two [Thai] Jemaah Islamiya Convicts Are Released and Sent to Thailand [Phnom Penh]
  • The Philippines Government Has the Intention to Accept Cambodian Rice to Be Sold in the Philippines
  • 26 Million Migrant Workers [among 130 million] in China’s Countryside Are Unemployed [according to an announcement of the Chinese government]
  • [Democratically elected political leader] Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi Told the UN Envoy that She Was Disappointed [that the United Nations that cannot persuade the junta leaders of Myanmar holding strict position to end their dictatorship]

Khmer Aphivoath Sethakech, Vol.7, #334, 4.2.2009

  • The King Goes to Beijing [to meet his parents and to have a medical checkup]
  • There Is No Ministry Responsible for the Stagnation of Agricultural Products of Khmer Farmers

Khmer Sthapana, Vol.2, #196, 4.2.2009

  • The National Election Committee Announces to Political Parties to Prepare to Participate in the New [district and provincial-city] Councils Elections [which will be held on 17 May 2009 – the registration of political parties will be held from 26 February to 2 March 2009]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6569, 4.2.2009

  • The Ministry of Foreign Affairs Sent a Diplomatic Note to the Embassies, related to Foreigners Marrying Cambodians
    [informing them that foreigners applying for marriage registrations are not obliged to become member of any organization in order to get marriage rights with Cambodian citizens, and they should also be instructed not to use any marriage broker agencies, as this is against the laws of Cambodia]
  • A Man Raped His Step Daughter since She Was Eleven Years Old Until She Is Now Sixteen – When His Wife Found It out [he was arrested, Kompong Cham]
  • Iran Launches Its First [self-made] Satellite

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.16, #3678, 4.2.2009

  • The German Government Announces to Suspend Aid for the Khmer Rouge Tribunal
  • Khmer and Siamese [Thai] Ministers of Defense Will Meet to Discuss the Border Disputes on 6 February 2009

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4812, 4.2.2009

  • Human Rights Report: Land Disputes Are some of the Most Serious Human Rights Violations in 2008
  • Note:

    Some more details are here on the Internet in Ka-set:

    Concern is the order of the day, ADHOC president Thun Saray indicates. In 2008, Human rights defenders, “providing advice to victims of land and resource seizures on seeking redress with the courts or authorities, or the release from detention of their community representatives” have been the particular target of threats and accusations of incitement to protest. “Such accusations from government officials were designed to intimidate workers and activists”, from providing legal advice and assistance to victims in land disputes with private companies and powerful people, ADHOC denounces in its report. In 2008, according to the Human rights NGO, at least 164 Human rights defenders were subjected to such threats in 63 separate cases.

    And:

    Similar tone of speech at the headquarters of the LICADHO, another Cambodian organization for the defense of Human rights. Its president, Kek Galabru, observes with the same concern the increase in the number of threats towards activists, whether they be attached to NGOs or not. “We have already pointed this out in several reports. I will give you a recent example: one of our employees was hit at Dey Krahom as he was only explaining their rights to residents! Our staff also received unsigned mail containing the drawing of a skull and crossbones… Saying that we are the ones behind the demonstrations is only an excuse used by the government to avoid solving problems. We never acted like that!”, LICADHO president says.

  • Siam [Thailand] Changes Its Intention, to Send Only Seven of Eighteen Smuggled Artifacts Back to Cambodia
  • Fifteen Cambodian Officials [independent experts and civil society officials] Will Have a [one-week] Study Tour to Europe [provided by the Delegation of the European Commission in Cambodia, to share and to encourage knowledge among trainees about measures of the European Union for solving some key problems, such as legal and court reforms, good governance, human rights, and promotion of democracy]
  • [Ousted former prime minister] Thaksin Told Puea Thai Party that He Will Return to Be Prime Minister One Day

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No Need to Wait for a Law on Access to Information: The Press in Cambodia Faces Rejection When Trying to Get Information – Monday, 29.12.2008

Posted on 30 December 2008. Filed under: Week 593 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |


The Mirror, Vol. 12, No. 593

“Phnom Penh: In an attempt to play a better role as conveyor of messages from citizens to the Royal Government and from the Royal Government to citizens, the Club of Cambodian Journalists held the Fifth Editors’ Forum of Cambodia under the motto ‘Assessments by Editors of the Situation of Access to Information’ in the evening of 27 December 2008 at the Himawari Hotel in Phnom Penh, with a Secretary of State of the Ministry of Information, Mr. Nov Sovatharo, chairing. This important forum was supported by the Konrad Adenauer Foundation like the previous forums.

“There was an active discussion after four speakers – Mr. Puy Kea, a reporter of the Kyodo News Agency of Japan, Mr. Pen Bona, co-editor of Cambodge Soir, Mr. Net Phatra, representing the Phnom Penh Post, and Mr. Chea Sayna, the editor of Koh Santepheap – expressed their opinions related to easiness and difficulties related to ‘Access to Information and Problems Faced.’ At the end, the editors’ forum decided to release the following joint declaration:

Joint Declaration of the Fifth Editors’ Forum of Cambodia ‘Access to Information without Waiting for a Law about Access to Information’
27 December 2008
Himawari Hotel
Phnom Penh, Cambodia

All of us, 35 people (as seen in the attached list with our signatures [not included here]) editors, publishing both through newspapers and through radio and TV in Cambodia, met during the Fifth Editors’ Forum in Phnom Penh on 27 December 2008 to discuss and to assess the situation of access to information which we face in our professional work during the year, and to find solutions. Under the theme of ‘Access to Information and Different Problems Faced speakers raised problems, expressed views, and provided recommendations related to:

  • The situation of access to information for foreign news agencies in Cambodia
    • Access to information related to the Preah Vihear border disputes
    • Access to information at different provinces countrywide
    • Access to information at central level (in Phnom Penh, at ministries, at private companies)

    Then, the Fifth Editor’s Forum of Cambodia discussed, in general, all points raised in the forum by the speakers and joined to assess the situation of access to information in Cambodia with high responsibility.

    Problems Identified Limiting Access to Information

    After discussions and assessments by the Fifth Editors’ Forum, the following problems are seen:

    1. Spokespersons or Public Relations Officials, or Information Officials: Many ministries and other state institutions, like the National Assembly, the Senate, as well as organizations and companies, do not have spokespersons or public relations officials, or information officials who professionally fulfill these tasks. This becomes a major obstacle against the flow of information for the general public, as guaranteed by the Constitution of 1993.
    2. Provision of Documents: In general, official documents are necessary, to be sure that a report and its information is made correctly, official documents are mostly not confidential documents, official documents have to be published by individual institutions and ministries that have to provide information to the public, and to publish about their own activities…, but often, such documents are not provided or prepared for publication and provided to journalists, not even their annual reports, and reports about the orientation of their work in the new year.
    3. Different Programs, Activities, and Meetings: Meetings that should be open are often declared to be internal and confidential affairs of the institutions, and journalists are asked to leave the meetings. At the same time, the work plans of the leaders of ministries and of other institutions are usually kept locked away in a drawer in the administration’s office, so that it sometimes seems that leaders of ministries are more secretive than the prime minister – and sometimes they do not seem to work.
    4. Announcements of Information: A small number of ministries announce information about some important events. But, regrettably, most ministries and institutions do not announce information, and some information is announced unexpectedly late.
    5. Regular Meetings and Press Conferences: In contrast to what is done in other modern countries, most ministries and institutions do not hold press conference or meet with journalists at all, although there were important and big problems to be explained and published. This makes the public to feel uninformed about the activities and the work of such ministries or institutions.
    6. Websites: Websites are one of the most important sources of information in this era of information technology. Most ministries and institutions have their own websites. This is an encouraging start. However, regrettably, most websites of ministries and of institutions are not kept updated with new information. Therefore, their websites cannot provide information and do not indicate where information can be found.

    Conclusion

    The weaknesses and gaps mentioned above are problems working against the access to information, and therefore the efficiency of different services, especially of public services, is questioned. Nevertheless, these problems can be addressed without waiting for a law about access to information. Corrections can be made through a change of behavior of some officials, and by a reorganization of the working structures at different institutions and ministries. The Royal Government has done a lot of work for people’s wellbeing and for national development, but the above shortages seems to swallow all achievements and accomplishments, when they are not shown to the public: to know, to hear, and to see. In the meantime, some facts in the social and economic life are ignored or are not solved in time, and consequently, everyone is a loser, both the Royal Government and the citizens.

    Appeal in a Situation that a Law about Access to Information Is Not Yet Adopted
    1. The Fifth Editor’s Forum of Cambodia would like to ask all ministries and institutions to appoint information officials or public relations officials, or spokespersons, and to organize their work so that they can work professionally and can fulfill their different tasks, such as to provide documents, to provide data about the work and about their activities, and especially to be able to respond to questions from journalists.
    2. All ministries and institutions should hold press conferences or meet with journalists regularly, to provide information about their activities and about the work of their ministries and institutions, and they must be conducted at least once per month.
    3. In cases of emergency, all ministries and institutions should release timely information for publication for the sake of the public. The publication of timely information can sometimes avoid danger and damage.
    4. All ministries and institutions should create their own websites to provide information to the public. As for some ministries and institutions that already have their own websites, they have to update information on their websites every day when there is new information.
    5. The Fifth Editors’ Forum of Cambodia will observe and assess the provision of information, and the Sixth Editors’ Forum, to be held again in 2009, will promote and strengthen the role of the Cambodian press in Cambodian society and in the international arena.

    Phnom Penh, 27 December 2008”
    Koh Santepheap, Vol.41, #6537, 29.12.2008

    Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
    Monday, 29 December 2008

    Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.7, #1832, 28-29.12.2008

    • Siem Reap Court Detains Three People, including a Journalist [of Sangkum Khmer], over a Land Dispute in Chi Kraeng District [for using violence against a real estate owner, and for provoking crimes, while residents said that they are arrested unjustly]
    • Pakistan and India Send Troops to their Border, Increasing Tension
    • China Sends Warships to the Gulf of Aden [to help fight Somali pirates]

    Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.2, #314, 28-30.12.2008

    • Secretary of State of the Ministry of Water Resources and Meteorology Tan Vanthara Appeared at a Gambling Site of the Phnom Penh Hotel
    • [Former military police officer] Chea Ratha Said Something about the Place Where She Is Hiding [she is living in a pagoda in a foreign country], Adding that She Is a Victim Regarding the Acid Attack [on the aunt of Ms. In Soklida, a well-known film star, with whom she had an affair]
    • [Former Thai Minister of Foreign Affairs] Noppadon Pattama Will Raise the Preah Vihear Temple Problem, to Attack [new Prime Minister] Abhisit Vejjajiva [during the meeting of the Thai parliament]

    Khmer Sthapana, Vol.1, #170, 28-29.12.2008

    • Dey Krahom Community Residents Face Eviction on 30 December 2008 [after the Chamkar Mon district office issued the last notice for the rest of 91 families (of 1274 families) at the Building Block area to leave by 30 December 2008]

    Koh Santepheap, Vol.41, #6537, 29.12.2008

    • No Need to Wait for a Law on Access to Information: The Press in Cambodia Faces Rejection When Trying to Get Information
    • Negotiation with Siam [Thailand] Is Still the Position for Border Issues and It Is the Most Appropriate Choice to Avoid War [said spokesperson of the government and Minister of Information, Mr. Khieu Kanharith]
    • Red-Shirt Demonstrators [supporters of the ousted Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra] Start to Surround the Thai Parliament [to prevent the presentation of the policy statement by Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva]
    • Israel Attacked Hamas in Gaza Causing Many Deaths [as revenge for Hamas rocket attacks on Israel – at least 271 people were killed and more than 620 others were injured. – Status on 29.12.2008: 1 soldier and 3 civilians were killed in Israel; more that 310 persons were killed in Gaza, and hundreds wounded]
    • More Than 98,000 Civilians Killed in Iraq [since 2003]

    Meatophum, Vol.52, #716, 29-31.12.2008

    • If [Minister of Foreign Affairs] Mr. Hor Namhong Does Not Assign His Son, Whom Should He Assign? [he will appoint his son, Hor Monyrath, to be ambassador in Japan from 2009]

    Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.15, #3651, 29.12.2008

    • The Spokesperson of the Government [Mr. Khieu Kanharith] Said that If an Armed Clash Happens along the Khmer-Siamese [Thai] Border, Cambodia Would Need 20,000 Troops
    • Members of the European Parliament Prepare to Sue Yuon [Vietnamese] Airline [for preventing them, Mr. Marco Panella and Mr. Marco Perduca, to board a plane from Cambodia to Vietnam]
    • The Director of the Cambodia Mine Action Authority Was Removed from His Position Related to Corruption [over the collapse of financing for the mine-sniffing dog raising and breeding program – Mr. Sam Sotha was replaced by Mr. Chum Bunrong, an advisor of Prime Minister Hun Sen]

    Rasmei Angkor, Vol.15, #1336, 29.12.2008

    • The Public of the [Phnom Penh] City Welcomes that the Authorities Curb Down Illegal Motorbike Pawn Shops [because such places are said to increase robberies in the city – nearly 2,000 motorbikes were found, 70% do not have number plates or tax stickers]


    Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.16, #4780, 28-29.12.2008

    • The Ministry of Interior Starts to Release Money instead of Rice to Police in 2009 [because of quality problems, late delivery, and loss of rice – instead of 1 kilogram of rice Riel 2,800 is paid – approx. US$0.70 – no information given how many kg in total are provided per month]
    • The Setting of Cambodia-Vietnam Border Markers Is Delayed until 2012 [the Cambodian-Vietnamese border of 1,270 km needs to be marked with 370 markers, worth more than US$15 million, and Vietnam is responsible for the whole expenses]

    Have a look at the last editorial – you can access it directly from the main page of the Mirror.

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    Friday, 12.9.2008: Club of Cambodian Journalists Asks Politicians for Communication If They Think Media Are Important

    Posted on 13 September 2008. Filed under: Week 577 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

    The Mirror, Vol. 12, No. 577

    “Representatives of the Club of Cambodian Journalists asked all politicians to communicate better with the media if they think that the media are important.

    “Mr. Pen Samithi, the president of the Club of Cambodian Journalists, said during a Roundtable Discussion to Review the Media Coverage During the Elections in the morning of 11 September 2008, that during every election, the media were considered to be most important for conveying messages to the citizens in rural areas as well as in the cities, to understand the election processes, and to know the parties that participate in the electoral competitions. Therefore, the media become political hostages during each election period, and after the elections are over, there has been always criticism by some parties against the media, saying to have shown bias, and to not have published enough about their specific party.

    “Mr. Pen Samithi added that some parties did not have spokespersons, and if journalists wanted their phone numbers, they could not get it. How can they report? If the politicians want good publicity, there should be better communication from now on, not just one month before the elections. If communication start so late, it is hopeless.

    “Mr. Pen Samithi said that he has never seen that any political parity contacted the media for reporting, and if the journalists wanted to contact them it was difficult. He went on to say that almost all parties have no media policy; so how can the media report? He said that if political parties think that the media are important, they have to communicate properly with the media, and not just blame the media after the elections, because earlier on, when the media approached the parties during the time of the elections, almost all such contacts were limited or were set under conditions to do this or to do that – but the media do not set any conditions in turn.

    “Mr. Keo Sothea, the editor-in-chief of Samleng Yuvachun Khmer, said that during the discussion in the morning, his newspaper had raises some negative points which have to be criticized, in order that they are corrected and there will be improvement. Some newspapers always write only negatively related to the government, but as for some needs or weak point, they do not seems to dare to write them, and to report about improvements by the government is an issue which is difficult to trust, because people have to think what a real improvement is, and what a lack thereof is.

    “Mr. Kol Panha, the executive director of the Committee for Free and Fair Elections – COMFREL – said that the media must be examined, because media are most important for sending information to the citizens who are the voters, and the media have a very significant role in the process of democracy. If someone is not listening or watching the media about the election process, or does not know any political parties, they will not be able to freely and broadly voice their opinion. However, if a publication spreads a lie, it really affects the voters strongly.

    “Mr. Kol Panha continued that the media are important, therefore journalists have to be neutral, they have to have morality, and journalistic skills, so that voters receive broadly based information. He added that when the elections approached, most media showed a certain reluctance towards the government, as taking up certain things might lead to conflicts, and rather raised mainly different, positive points for comments, but seldom criticizing the government. Also, he expressed his regret that during the elections in 2008, there was serious incidents related to the media: the murder of Mr. Khim Sambo, a journalist of Moneaksekar Khmer, and the arrest and detention of Mr. Dam Sith, the editor-in-chief of Moneaksekar Khmer. He said that whether one agrees or not, such cases somewhat frighten other journalists and they think a lot before they write.

    “Mr. Kol Panha asked to include also the Equity Program [produced by the UNDP] into programs related to the National Election Committee [NEC]. Laws should be created to punish any media that have committed wrongdoings, but there should not be prison term punishments.

    “Mr. Chhay Sophal, a member of the Club of Cambodian Journalists, said that this discussion will continue further, regarding the above suggestions.” Samleng Yuvachun Khmer, Vol.15, #3407, 12.9.2008

    Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
    Friday, 12 September 2008


    Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.7, #1774, 12.9.2008

    • The Sam Rainsy Party Loses Another Parliamentarian [at the Cambodian People’s Party headquarters in Phnom Penh, on 11 September 2008, there was a celebration to accept Mr. Chrea Chenda as a member of the Cambodian People’s Party]
    • Troops of Cambodia and of Thailand Begin to Be in a Stronger Confrontation at the Ta Krabei Temple [Banteay Ampil, Oddar Meanchey]


    Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.2, #242, 12.9.2008

    • Son Chhay [Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian] said the Price of Fuel in Cambodia Should Be Decreased to Riel 3,800 [approx. US$0.93] per liter [as fuel in Cambodia costs Riel 5,700 [approx. US$1.40] per liter, the price of fuel at the world market had been US$148 per barrel, but it now decrease to US$100 per barrel, so it dropped by one third at the free markets, so price of fuel in Cambodia should be decreased to Riel 3,800 [approx. US$0.93] per liter as the highest
    • .


    Khmer Sthapana, Vol.1, #97, 12.9.2008

    • The Royal Government allows to Import Pigs from England to Be Crossbred in the Country [according to Oknha Mong Riththy, a member of the Senate and co-leader of an agricultural and agro-industrial working group, on 10 September 2008, during a meeting between pig farmers and the government at the Phnom Penh Hotel]


    Koh Santepheap, Vol.41, #6448, 12.9.2008

    • There Are More Than 20,000 Legal and Illegal Khmer Laborers Outside of the Country, the Largest Number Is in Thailand [according to Mr. Ya Navuth, executive director of CARAM Cambodia, who said that more than 18,000 Khmer laborers, both legal and illegal, are working in Thailand]

    Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.15, #3563, 12.9.2008

    • New US Ambassador to Cambodia Is Worried about Corruption in Cambodia [Ms. Carol Rodley is the first female US Ambassador appointed to Cambodia by President Gorge W. Bush]


    Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.16, #4692, 12.9.2008

    • Court Issues Arrest Warrant for Wife of Dankao District’s Police Chief [wife of Mr. Bon Sam At was brought to be questioned by police in early September 2008, accused to have issued uncovered checks for more than US$20,000 – Phnom Penh]
    • Governor of Trat [in Thailand] Apologized after Thai Police at the Hat Lek Border Crossing Point Had Used Dogs to Sniff and to Lick Khmer Citizens [Koh Kong]
    • Ratanakiri [authorities] Withdraw More Than 300 Hectares of Forest Land from a Military Official [the Ratanakiri authorities freed 312 hectares of forest land in Bar Keo district which was illegally controlled by Colonel Leng Hong]


    Samleng Yuvachun Khmer, Vol.15, #3407, 12.9.2008

    • Club of Cambodian Journalists Asks Politicians for Communication If They Think Media Are Important

    Click here to have a look at the last editorial – Numbers: how to evaluate them, which realities do they really represent?

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