The deputy director of the Cambodian News Channel (CNC), a local 24-hour television news station, has been appointed undersecretary of state at the Interior Ministry, according to a copy of the April 11 royal decree awarding him the position.
The television journalist, Huy Vannak, 36, made news himself last year after allegedly putting a gun to a colleague’s head inside the CNC headquarters in June.
Mr. Vannak was sued by the alleged victim, Ros Dina, but the Phnom Penh Municipal Court later dismissed the case, according to Mr. Vannak.
Khieu Sopheak, spokesman for the Interior Ministry, said he learned of Mr. Vannak’s appointment via Facebook but had not yet received official confirmation.
Asked why a journalist with no experience in government had been made an undersecretary of state, Mr. Sopheak responded, “How can the government appoint someone who doesn’t have ability?”
Mr. Vannak said Sunday that he was thrilled about his new job.
“I am happy and feel proud that the government believes in me and gave me the duty to work for the government, the people, and the country,” he said.
Mr. Vannak said he had not yet decided whether to resign from his post at CNC, but noted that he did not believe there was a conflict of interest in working as a journalist and a government official at the same time.
“I haven’t made any decision yet, but legally there is no conflict of interest between these two jobs,” he said. He also denied having ever pulled a gun in the newsroom.
“This charge is not true. It is defamation and malicious denunciation,” he said.