PM Defends Border Stance Amid Media Blitz

The hotly contested border issue has invaded the nation’s television screens. Since Friday, stations in­clud­ing TVK, TV9, Apsara and Bay­on have given extensive coverage to a decade’s worth of documents from the 1970s related to the border issue. TV newscasters read the documents word for word, along­side transcripts of the texts.

Prime Minister Hun Sen in a speech Monday said the television blitz was necessary for him to de­fend himself against an unnamed critic who he said had accused him of ceding Cambodian territory to Viet­nam.

“I have no other choice,” Hun Sen said at the National Institute of Tech­nical Training, claiming that the un­named critic had “pushed Hen Sen to the wall” and that if his critic was not “KO’d” he “won’t stop.”

Citing the atomic bombing of Na­gasaki and Hiroshima in Japan by US forces during World War II, Hun Sen said an offensive is sometimes the best form of self-defense.

He also said he would continue to broadcast a controversial song from Lon Nol’s Khmer Republic that accuses retired King Norodom Si­hanouk of ceding land to Viet­nam.

“I’ll have it produced into kara­oke,” Hun Sen said. “Don’t be afraid of history.”

Hun Sen said that state-run TVK belonged to the government, but in­sisted it was not a government mouthpiece.

“Don’t say TVK is a government tool,” he said. “If TVK is not the government’s tool, should it be the opposition’s? TVK belongs to the government.”

Opposition lawmaker Son Chhay had a different take on the matter.

“TVK is being used for communist-style propaganda,” he said, ac­cusing the station of slandering op­position officials, giving fawning coverage to the ruling coalition and ignoring controversial issues such as land grabs and displacements.

TVK Director-General Kem Gu­na­wath defended his programming decisions, saying that anyone could “call his [phone] number” if they objected.


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