CPP Releases a Second Recording of Opposition Sparring

In a further attempt to discredit the opposition, the government on Wednesday released a second audio clip of the leaders of the recently formed Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) insulting one another back when they headed rival opposition parties.

The 22-minute recording, originally broadcast on Bayon Radio—which is owned by Prime Minister Hun Sen’s daughter Hun Mana—splices together sound bites from current CNRP president Sam Rainsy and vice president Kem Sokha taken from between 2008 and 2012 when Mr. Rainsy headed the SRP and Mr. Sokha the Human Rights Party (HRP).

The audio clip, which was disseminated by the Council of Ministers, is the second of another 10 audio clips that will be disseminated painting the CNRP as divided in the run-up to July’s national elections, said Satya Rak, a Bayon Radio host.

Wednesday’s clip plays sound bites of Mr. Rainsy speaking about the HRP while on the campaign trail for the SRP in 2008.

“It is not a real opposition party because it is connected to the Cam­bodian People’s Party,” Mr. Rainsy said of the HRP. “It exists only to break democracy and the real opposition.”

The clip also has Mr. Sokha speaking to an audience of HRP supporters before the 2008 election saying that Mr. Rainsy is guilty of many of the same failures as Mr. Hun Sen.

“Every opposition politician is not working for the nation. He [Mr. Rainsy] cannot correct his own actions even though he wants to correct others. He is not the prime minister, but as the president of his party, he is also old and has been in the same po­sition for a long time,” Mr. Sokha said.

The recording is also interspersed with outdated commentary from independent radio station owner Mam Sonando, who has previously been critical of the fighting between opposition parties.

In the recording, Mr. Sonando—who was released earlier this year after being jailed for having allegedly led an insurrection in Kratie province—raises the possibility that both opposition leaders might be pretending to care about Cambodia for their own benefit.

“I am critical of the leadership of Mr. Sokha and Mr. Rainsy. Are they working to cheat the public or help the people or simply help their own group?” he says on the recording.

Mr. Rak, the Bayon Radio host, said by phone Wednesday that he was not airing the recordings for the benefit of the CPP, but rather because he wants to expose the lack of sincerity between Mr. Rainsy and Mr. Sokha.

“This recording doesn’t belong to the CPP, it is mine. I want to show the behavior of the opposition party and characteristics of these two men,” he said.

Chhean Nariddh Moeun, di­rector of the Cambodia Institute for Media Studies, said that the fact that Bayon Radio would take it upon itself to criticize the opposition was unsurprising.

“Everybody knows that almost all of the media is either controlled or influenced by government, so the release of these audio tapes is not a surprise. The government always tries to manipulate the media for political gains,” he said.

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