The job of spokesperson for the Ministry of Interior, long held by General Khieu Sopheak, has been split up and given to 22 different ministry officials, according to a statement released Friday, though contact details for the new point people have not been published.
The statement, signed by Interior Minister Sar Kheng, identifies two spokespeople for each of the ministry’s 11 general departments. Gen. Sopheak said the 22 additional press contacts were meant to lighten his load.
“We need to have more people speaking to the media. There are many journalists asking questions these days. Normally, I receive 80 calls a day — how can one person do that?” he said.
Gen. Sopheak said he would remain the spokesman for the Interior Ministry as a whole, but that journalists would now be able to receive information directly from the relevant department. He said he would also train the new spokespeople.
“I myself have been the spokesman for nearly 20 years,” he said. “I have a diploma in journalism from a university in New Delhi — it’s a very low certificate, not a master’s degree — so I have some experience and knowledge to pass on.”
Friday’s statement lists the names and ranks of the new spokespeople — there are 12 lieutenant generals and two major generals — but offers no information about to how to get in touch with them.
“We will try to do that. We want to make those details available. Maybe we will publish on my Facebook page,” Gen. Sopheak said.
Chhan Chansopheak, one of the new spokesmen for the ministry’s administration department, said it was an honor to be named as a media point person.
“I am very proud that the [department] leader believes in me and appointed me as a spokesman for the department,” he said.
“Excellency Khieu Sopheak is still senior, and we are just smaller spokesmen for the department.”