New Memorial Planned for Journalists Killed in Cambodia

A new memorial to the 37 Cam­bodian and foreign journalists who died covering Cambodia’s civil war in the 1970s is set for construction in September and will replace the current weather-beaten and tattered styrofoam memorial near Phnom Penh’s Hotel le Royal.

“We plan to start the construction in September. For the first phase, I fund the construction,” In­formation Minister Khieu Kan­harith said in a Facebook message yesterday. Mr Kan­harith—who is partially funding the me­morial and who was once a re­porter himself—added that the current painted styrofoam memorial was temporary and “just a sym­bolic one.”

Moeun Chhean Nariddh, director of the Cambodia Institute for Media Studies, said he welcomed news of the permanent memorial because the journalists who lost their lives covering Cambodia’s conflict deserved to be honored.

“When they died, a piece of freedom also died with them,” Mr Chhean Nariddh said. “We don’t want freedom to die with these journalists.”

A memorial would not only commemorate the dead, Mr Chhean Nariddh added, but also act as a reminder of the importance of a Cambodian free press and the dangers faced by local journalists.

“I hope the memorial will try to promote press freedom in Cam­bo­dia and protect Cambo­dian journalists from being murdered and arrested for doing their jobs,” he said. “It doesn’t mean anything if Cambodian journalists still get killed.”

 

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