The Cambodian Embassy to the United Kingdom on Thursday published a satirical image criticizing environmental campaigners Global Witness over a recent report that alleged corruption in Cambodia’s nascent oil and mining industries.
The embassy has regularly issued statements rebutting and denouncing Global Witness reports but this marks the first image it has released to that purpose. Thursday’s graphic accompanied a statement from Ambassador Hor Nambora, titled “Cambodian Ambassador Hits Back at ‘Naïve’ Pressure Group.”
“The government is working hard to establish a sound and comprehensive framework governing the extractive industries. These will reflect best practice and be based on the principles of transparency and accountability,” the ambassador was quoted as saying.
The image, bearing the words “rubbish report by Global Witness,” was not included in a version received Friday by fax but did appear in an electronic copy e-mailed to the media by Global Witness.
The image features what appeared to be a baby sea lion labeled “Gavin Hayman,” the name of Global Witness’ campaigns director.
An embassy official declined to answer questions Friday, and Hayman, reached in Bangkok, said Global Witness was not involved in producing the image.
“It’s bizarre and laughable,” he said of the image. “It’s unfortunate that they chose not to take the issues seriously.”