Newspaper representatives on Sunday said the media truce between Prime Minister Hun Sen and Funcinpec President Prince Norodom Ranariddh does not apply to their publications.
Hor Sopheap, adviser to Khmer Odoumkathi (Khmer Ideal) newspaper, which is often critical of the Hun Sen government, said the cease-fire that Prince Ranariddh announced last week applies only to broadcast media—particularly to radio, as Funcinpec and the Sam Rainsy Party do not control television stations.
He also said it was important for journalists to carry out their work without interference, because the law and professional ethics hold them responsible for what they report.
“If there is an order to stop criticism, I think [Cambodia] is not a democratic country. In the country that has war, they shoot each other, but in the democratic country, they like to discuss,” Hor Sopheap said.
Dam Sip Hik, editor-in-chief of opposition newspaper Moneaksekar Khmer (Khmer Conscience) said he would not accept any order to curtail criticism of the ruling party. “I still adhere to my paper’s principle,” he said. “I will criticize Hun Sen’s bad actions.”
He added that CPP newspapers are attacking the Alliance of Democrats more than ever.
A board member of Koh Santepheap Daily newspaper, which has traditionally favored the ruling party, said his publication was not concerned by Hun Sen’s agreement with Prince Ranarridh.
“My newspaper is not involved with any political parties, so the truce does not affect my newspaper,” Euy Kdam said.
Kim Senh, editor-in-chief of Kampuchea Thmey Daily (New Cambodia), said his CPP-friendly paper relied only on facts and quotations for its copy, making the media armistice irrelevant.
“We don’t write the opinion story,” he said.
Om Yentieng, adviser to Hun Sen, and Nhiek Bun Chhay, Funcinpec’s deputy secretary-general, agreed that the premier and the prince had not mentioned calling print reporters to heel.
“This is the first truce. We will discuss the newspapers later,” Nhiek Bun Chhay said.