After Prison Release, Journalist Becomes SRP Media Adviser

Recently freed journalist Ros Sokhet said yesterday that he had become a media consultant for the opposition SRP.

Mr Sokhet, who was released last month after serving more than a year in prison on a disinformation conviction, took on the role when he joined the party last week.

Mr Sokhet said he would promote SRP activities that are overlooked or misrepresented in most local media, which he said were biased toward the ruling party.

“The Khmer-language media, television and radio do not find justice for the SRP,” Mr Sokhet said. “Those media receive funds from the CPP, so they have to work for the CPP.”

Through presenting an SRP radio show and webcasts on the Internet, Mr Sokhet said he would pick out inaccuracies in the news media and “highlight the real situation.”

The journalist said that along with preparing SRP media items for the Internet and radio, he would advise party members on media communications.

Mr Sokhet was summarily tried and imprisoned last Novem­ber for sending disparaging text messages to TV personality Soy Sopheap. He was freed late last month after the Court of Appeal upheld his conviction but shortened his two-year sentence.

SRP lawmaker Yim Sovann said he welcomed Mr Sokhet to the party as a consultant.

“He has the same vision and ideas. So I and the party are very happy to welcome him,” he said.

Information Minister Khieu Kanharith, who sent a letter on Oct 14 asking Justice Minister Ang Vong Vathana to help secure Mr Sokhet’s release, said: “Ros Sokhet is totally free to decide his political affiliation, and I hope that the SRP won’t regret its decision,” he said by e-mail yesterday.

Mr Kanharith said the CPP did not need to fund newspapers and denied that media in Cambodia were politically biased.

“An independent press is more useful to the ruling party than an obedient one,” he said.


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