Kem Gunawadh, the former director-general of state broadcaster TVK, returned to work at the station Monday after his highly publicized resignation last week.
But it was unclear in what capacity he had returned, with local media reporting that he was back in his old position, while his temporary replacement said he was now working as a “senior official” at the Ministry of Information.
Local media websites ran stories Monday citing an unnamed source inside the station claiming that Mr. Gunawadh had been reappointed as director-general. Pang Nath, acting director-general of TVK, confirmed Monday that his former boss was back in the office, but said he was no longer managing daily news.
“His office is being kept for him,” he said. “He has resigned from the position of director-general, however he still works as a senior official of the Ministry of Information.”
Both the Ministry of Information and Mr. Gunawadh have remained tight-lipped since the long-serving director-general, who helped set up the station in 1983, stepped down on May 17, supposedly for failing to broadcast live the annual plowing ceremony.
Neither Information Minister Khieu Kanharith nor Mr. Gunawadh could be reached for comment Monday. But the former TVK boss was quoted on the Thmey Thmey news website Monday saying that he had returned to his office at the station as a Ministry of Information official.
“I sit in the office inside TVK only as a common official at the Information Ministry, not as its director-general,” he reportedly said.
“I have followed the Information Minister’s decision to have one week leave and do not yet know anything else,” he added.
On his own Facebook page on Friday, Mr. Gunawadh pleaded with journalists to stop writing about his resignation from the station.
“I would like to request that you stop talking about me. I would like to sincerely ask for sympathy among newspapers, radio and on Facebook,” he wrote.
Moeun Chhean Nariddh, director of the Cambodia Institute for Media Studies, said he would be unsurprised if the former director returned to his role.
“Initially I was proud that the state broadcaster could be a role model and show the public that it was accountable—but as it is the state broadcaster, it would not be surprising if he came back,” he said.
“In the past, many officials have been removed from their posts after having made mistakes only to be reappointed to senior positions a short time later.”
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