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Ministry of Information Spokesperson Says There is Nothing to Pay Attention to in Biased UNHCR Report

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PHNOM PENH: The Spokesperson for the Ministry of Information, Meas Sophoan, has said he consideres the UNHCR report released yesterday to be biased, including an evaluation based on what the UN Special Rapporteurs wanted to write. The Spokesperson described the report as "nothing to worry about."

The UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights released its report on Wednesday, 3 August, saying press freedom in Cambodia is getting worse, particularly during the time when Cambodia has elections in 2022 and 2023. The report also cites allegations of journalists' crimes, interference in the freedom of the press, and restrictions on the media.

Responding to this report, the Spokesperson of the Ministry of Information, Meas Sophoan, said that this was nothing special because the report was written only based on the feelings of the UN Special Rapporteurs.

"In the past, despite several explanations from the Ministry of Information and other ministries - institutions involved in the report, the authors of this report did not take to study, research and consider the explanations of the relevant ministries and institutions," he said. "This proves that the report is written according to just what they want to say."

He stressed that Cambodia is a law-abiding country, and thus all practices must comply with the existing national laws that guarantee human rights, women's rights, the right to publish, and the protection of public interest and society. Everyone has the same legal responsibilities.

"Cambodia is no different from other countries, the development of laws and regulations is aimed at ensuring the interests of the people and the country are served, to ensure the rule of law in a democratic society," he said.

According to the Spokesperson, there are currently 2,117 diverse national and foreign media organizations registered with the Ministry of Information, and about 6,000 national and foreign journalists actively working in disseminating information to the public. Therefore, the situation of press freedom in Cambodia is constantly evolving, and not as dark as what was written in the UNHCR report.

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