Newspapers Apologize to Gov’t But No Decision Yet on Suspensions

Threatened with suspensions, two newspaper editors said Thurs­day they wrote apology letters to the Ministry of Infor­mation for publishing articles against Prime Minister Hun Sen and King Norodom Sihanouk.

But the editors stand by their stories and said they only wrote the letters to to continue publishing. Both papers generally support government critic and Parliament member Sam Rainsy.

Keo Sothea, managing editor for Samleng Yuvachon Khmer (Voice of Khmer Youth), said his editor wrote an apology and met ministry officials. “We wrote an apology under pressure,” he said.

His paper published an article that referred to Hun Sen as a dog. Keo Sothea said the article was “not wrong.” “In fact, we don’t feel guilty at all,” he said.

No decision on the fate of the two papers has been made, ac­cord­ing to Minister of Infor­mation Lu Laysreng.

Under the nation’s press law, the ministry can suspend publications only if they threaten national security or political stability.

The ministry threatened Moneaksekar Khmer after it printed editorials titled “If Kh­mers are lazy, the Khmer King is lazy, too,” and “Vietnam­ese immigrants chide that Khmers are lazy: what do the Khmer people think of this?” The ministry said these could cause racial riots.

“In my article, I had no intention to provoke racial issues,” Dam Sith said. “And my article was not aimed at chiding His Majesty the King.”

“To continue my paper’s publication, I had to write a letter of apology,” said Dam Sith, editor for Moneaksekar Khmer (Khmer Conscience).

 

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