Aren’t Cambodia’s Journalists Tired Of Being Spoken Down To?

The country’s government views the press as an adjunct of power.

There’s a polite warning about throwing stones in glass houses.

There’s a more impolite instruction to know the extent of one’s own ignorance. In perusing the Phnom Penh Post’s recent piece (“PM calls for ‘ethical fourth estate’,” January 23), one is compelled to scrutinize what emanated from Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Manet. The scene? The annual meeting of the Ministry of Truth (sorry, Ministry of Information). The Post’s lede tells us: “Prime Minister Hun Manet has called on the Kingdom’s media outlets and journalists to live up to their role as the ‘fourth estate’ while stressing the necessity for legal provisions to govern the sector.”

One might overlook the pretentiousness of the “fourth estate” a term employed only in moments when the press is cast as conspiratorial or valorous. And it’s all the more ostentatious coming from a premier ensconced in a one-party dominion.

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