PM: Women Should Name Suitors in Interviews

Prime Minister Hun Sen on Fri­day said that any young women giv­ing interviews to magazines about prominent men they may have links with should name them.

Speaking at a road construction in­auguration ceremony in Siem Reap province, he said that articles in magazines that quote women as saying that they have received the attention of older men or oknhas—an honorary title sometimes be­stowed on powerful businessmen

—is damaging the reputation of older men and oknhas generally.

“Saying grandfathers and ok­nhas call” is too vague, Hun Sen said, adding that such interviews are “dam­aging grandfathers and oknhas in general.”

“Girls, give their names so that it would not damage every grandfather and oknha,” he urged.

Fashion and music magazines often interview prominent female singers about their love lives.

Responding to the speech on Sunday, Center for Social Devel­op­ment President Chea Vannath suggested Hun Sen may have been re­ferring to informal sex workers, such as karaoke singers, in which case they were unlikely to comply with his request.

“They cannot destroy their own business [by naming their clients], so they cannot name names,” she said.

Kek Galabru, founder of local rights group Licadho, said revealing the names of senior men who women have been linked to could make them more vulnerable to a slew of problems, including violence from wives or legal action.

“It is dangerous for them. The wife of the official could be mad and do something to the woman,” she said.

“The official would also be mad and the official could sue the [wo­man] and say it is defamation. They have to be very cautious and to protect the name of the client.”

Mu Sochua, former minister of women’s affairs and now an opposition party member, said the premier’s words were likely meant to silence the mistresses of the rich and powerful, not to encourage them to speak out.

“By demanding names, they are already telling the [women], you better find some protection or else it goes back to you, and it’s defamation,” Mu Sochua said.




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