Request for Screening of Chea Vichea Film Rejected by City Municipality

Phnom Penh Municipal Gover­nor Kep Chuktema has rejected a request from the Cambodian Con­federation of Unions to screen the documentary film “Who Killed Chea Vichea?” as part of their International Labor Day activities this Saturday.

Mr Chuktema’s rejection came after a meeting between CCU Pre­sident Rong Chhun yesterday morning, where the screening of the film and the CCU’s Labor Day march were discussed.

In a further blow to its Labor Day activities, Mr Chhun said that Mr Chuktema requested yesterday that the CCU merge its march with that of the rival Cambodian Labor Confederation.

The CCU planned to screen the film on Saturday afternoon near the newspaper stand where then-Free Trade Union president Chea Vichea was assassinated in 2004.

“Concerning the film ‘Who Killed Chea Vichea?’ Phnom Penh Muni­cipality doesn’t give permission because this film has not been given a license from relevant ministries,” Mr Chuktema wrote in a letter he handed to Mr Chhun at yesterday’s meeting.

Despite the rejections, Mr Chhun said that up to 200 CCU members will press on with their planned Labor Day march and the film screening, regardless of the authorities’ requests.

“We still have the same stand…. We will continue to proceed [with] the plan as scheduled,” Mr Chhun said.

“The film does not affect the government leaders—it tells about Chea Vichea’s murder.”

A last minute reprieve to show the film, however, may still be granted to the CCU by Minister of the Interior Sar Kheng, according to the ministry’s spokesman Lieutenant Ge­neral Khieu Sopheak.

Mr Sopheak said the Interior Ministry had not yet received correspondence from City Hall about the CCU’s planned activities, so the ministry has not yet made a final decision about the screening of the film.

“When we get it, it will be up to my boss,” Mr Sopheak said, adding that the authorities would be forced to uphold the law if the CCU pushes ahead with its screening without permission.

“If they abuse the law, we will enforce the law,” he said.

Though Mr Chhun said he was not willing to merge his group’s march with any other organization, CLC President Ath Thorn said yesterday that the CCU was welcome to join the estimated 7,000 workers who will be marching under the banner of the CLC on Saturday.

“If we merge the march, we will have the same message,” Mr Thorn said.

The SRP said in a statement yesterday that party members will march alongside CCU members, supporting the confederation’s call for improved rights for workers.

“We will participate in the march to show support for the workers,” SRP lawmaker and spokesman Yim Sovann said, adding that SRP members will also join workers at the screening of “Who Killed Chea Vichea?”

Kong Kantara, Ministry of Cul­ture undersecretary of state, said the creators of “Who Killed Chea Vichea?” had not sought a license from the ministry, meaning it would be illegal to screen the film in public.

According to Sub Decree 63, signed by Prime Minister Hun Sen on Sept 4, 2000, all films must receive a license before being screened in public, he said.


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