Selected Comments Samdech Moha Bovor Thipadei Hun Manet, the World Press Freedom Day and the 6th Solidarity Dinner with media people [Unofficial and translations]



(1) The fourth power ensures that all powers work together to serve the people

[…] The three powers – the executive, the legislature, and the judiciary, are created to jointly defend the nation, the people, and develop the country. The fourth power also plays an important role in ensuring that all powers work together to serve the people responsibly. This is the definition of the power of the press […] citizens have the right to information related to what is actually happening around them. This freedom is guaranteed through the provision and free access to information […] during these eight months, together with the relevant authorities, both national and sub-national, I have solved many problems for the people in a timely manner thanks to the fact that I have received information from journalists, including our citizens who are not licensed or professional journalists […] the benefit that the Royal Government (gains from) guaranteeing the freedom of the press is it transforms into a great force of unity that can help each other in a timely manner […]

(2) Once received information, (a) if it is not true, the Ministry/institution/authority involved shall issue an explanation; (b) if it is true, resolve and disseminate

I have received information (from various sources). Although I do not guarantee that all information is accurate […] having received such information has two benefits. First, if this information is not accurate, the relevant authorities, ministries and institutions, after receiving it, must set out to clarify issue to inform the people […], for instance, the matter had already been resolved 3 months or 2 years ago, so that our people who own the country do not feel concerned about what happened […] they are clarified […] and (secondly), if this information is true, concerned authorities must addressed and publicized the solution that had been brought upon […]

(3) “Act as a journalist, do not act as a court”

In our role as journalists, whether with or without a license, I am sure you are willing to provide accurate information from all angles” […] I urge you (first of all) to “act as a journalist, not as a court” […] If we have one piece of information, we have to try to find other pieces of information to put them all together. Please do not be prejudiced, do not let us be the reporter, the judge, the motivator all at the same time […]

Secondly, we publish the news. If the problem is solved or clarified, please help publish/post the solution […] so that the a) the public will know how far that story has come […] b) it is an advantage for the media persons […] because of the fact that information they posted reached national leaders, provincial leaders, other leaders or has been resolved […]

Thirdly, once they get information from the people, they have to search for the truth […] for instance, the inspirational support to Samdech Techo and/or to the Royal Government in the development of the country, regarding the Funan Techo canal has formed a very large nationalist movement. (This movement can be) formed because of the unification of the people, the exercise of rights and the use of expression, and the collective effort to support what is in the national interest […]

(4) For the fourth power to be influential, there has to have people’s belief

The fourth power is great. There is no need to issue a government order or a court to issue a law, but the motivation that inspires this movement through the sharing of information from all angles […] I have already said that there is a difference between “power and influence”. With power, one does not necessarily have influence, and vice versa – with influence, one does not necessarily have power […] the media persons/journalists too, in order for the fourth power to be influential, their works must be of value. Who values that? It is not the Ministry of Information that issues the license. It is about whether the people believe that newspaper/media outlet or not. That is the real value […]

(5) The influence of the professional ethics of the press guaranteed by accuracy, integrity and responsibility

Regarding the influence of the media, the most important thing is the professional ethics […], gathering information has to be accurate and professional. To ensure this professional ethics, we must do our best to be honest, accurate and responsible […] to keep information sector strong. We have some 10,000 journalists/media persons and some 2,000 media organizations. The influence of this power depends on harmony, orderliness, professionalism as a whole to gain the trust of the people and customers […] This is what (the Minister of Information,) HE Net Pheaktra talked about the need to make/facilitate orderliness in the media so that everyone can fulfill their rights and responsibilities responsibly without affecting the value of the rest of the 2,000 people […]

(6) Professional journalists/media persons must manage, strengthen and lead themselves according to the five approaches

There must be ethics and integrity to protect the influence of the fourth power and the operators of the fourth power […] the five approaches laid out by the Royal Government – mirroring, scrubbing off dirt, taking treatment and surgery, aimed to be implemented not only by those state and government institutions but by all with responsibility. The press, especially the professionals must be able to control and strengthen themselves, and lead themselves […] to help strengthen this fourth power to become a powerful and trustworthy power from the people and the Royal Government. The government also need to receive information. The information does not necessarily have to be positive. Negative information also is important, but there must be a clear code of ethics since we are basing on it to find solution […]

(7) Incomplete information may have been disseminated, but take the responsibility to correct it

Practically, there always are shortcomings. The press is the same […] if (what they shared was) wrong, they had to dare take responsibility and correct it. There is a difference between incomplete and irresponsible dissemination of information and incomplete dissemination of information, but we are responsible. The difference is for the error they made, they corrected it. It they do not correct the error it means that they may have some unjust intentions […] A small number of media outlets have not yet been fully implementing this […] the Minister of Information has laid out a number of challenges such as some have created news for unjustified media actions only for their own advantages […]

(8) Be cautious with words in live broadcast, fake news a global challenge

On instances, we use live broadcast. Sometimes the broadcast contains slightly harsh words. It seems we are doing better now […] though sometimes there has some errors. Please check on that […] Sometimes, there are advertisements that affect our culture and morale. Please do not advertise them, and help not publish them. The Ministry of Information, the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts, the Ministry of Women’s Affairs have already published (certain regulations) […] a) do not publish anything that is rude or immoral and b) help spread the word or help guide our good content more […] and c) the fact that fake news has become a global challenge, (let our media persons be careful not to fall into this practice as it would lead to) […] confusing people and leading to war […]

(9) Report on Kun Nhim’s bribe for retirement postponement a fake news

Concerning this fake news, […] there has a report published by the Cambodia daily alleging that HE Kun Nhim (the Director General of Custom and Excise) bribed me, through my wife, so that he could postpone his retirement until 2028 […] This is fake news. This has affected me and my family, the people, and the institution […] I presented the letter that Samdech Techo (then the Prime Minister) signed on December 22, 2022, allowing HE Kun Nhim to extend his retirement until 2028 to lead the reform of the customs system. We have the documents as evidence […]

(Let me affirm that) firstly, there is no bribery. That they have created such a story, do they have a political intention or what? Wait and see. Now that we have presented the evidence, we will see if the Cambodia Daily is intentional or unintentional? Secondly, as Prime Minister, I have sufficient discretion in the appointment of the Director General of the General Department of Customs and Excise of Cambodia anytime. I can select candidates and make proposals, appointments, changes, the DG of the General Department of Customs and Excise based on meritocracy […]

(10) RFA speaks it but dare not take responsibility

The Cambodia daily […] has been using the style […] similar to Radio Free Asia. It always states “according to sources from senior officials who do not dare to reveal their names” […] The case of Radio Free Asia is against the Funan Techo canal, they cited claim by a senior official of the Ministry of Economy and Finance. In fact, there is no official who speaks it. The RFA speaks it but does not dare take responsibility. On the other hand, they use the psychological method of whispering to the people’s ears because it would be lauder […] that is what I say “while taking refuge in the freedom of the press, one loses the potential for doing something irresponsibly, and without professional ethics. Clearly, it is to its detriment. […] We know that they take refuge under the banner of the press, but do political work. However, they should not let it get too disvalued. If you hit someone, why do not need to hit his/her family […] Do not apply the style know to be played by the “veteran” politicians […]

(11) Keeping professional ethics strengthens everlasting and sustainable influence as the fourth power

I see a lot of people defending and showing concrete evidence to protect my cleanliness […] Thank you for sending messages of comment to help protect the cleanliness of my family, especially those who called in to ABC Radio […] I urge that they think of morals and ethics […] and have to see that there are boundaries, especially the family’s members who are not involved, must be off limit. This is something that the journalists here can play an important role as the fourth power operator and keep the boundaries clear. Please do something in line with professional ethics as a journalist. This is what strengthens the sustainability of and everlasting influence of the fourth power […]

(12) The First Lady: “Being able to help even one person is in fact helping the nation”

Do I have the right to protect my wife? Let me open a little bracket here to fulfill my duty as a husband, not the Prime Minister, to show one side of my family […] you may have seen her social activities in general, in TYDA, especially in time of the Covid-19 […] even though she has now become the first lady, she does not change all that […] HE Mam Bunheng (former Minister of Health) invited her to take a job in the Ministry to share knowledge in serving the people […] “the fact that I switched from pharmacy to public health is to work with people, to help them as much as I could. I want to go down to the local level help our countrymen. That is work and help the nation. It is not necessary to be a civil servant to help them. We can do anything to help the nation, firstly, not to destroy the nation, and secondly, being able to help one person is in fact helping the nation” – she said […]

Now, with HE Vongsey Visoth (Deputy Prime Minister and Minister in charge of the Office of the Council of Minister) and (the Minister of Culture and Fine Arts) Lok Chumteav Phoeung Sakona, we are working to promote the culture of silkworm research in Cambodia. My wife is going to join with this effort. The association asked her to be president. She turned it away. “I would not be involved if it is the state mechanism. Let the Minister do it. (I would take part when) we set up a mechanism with participation of the people, civil society organizations, private, our civil servants, and all forces in the preservation of national culture” – she affirmed.

(13) Together prevent and eliminate fake news, protect the rights, freedoms and dignity of the people

We need to understand the benefits of working together to prevent this fake news (from roaming the country). We must work together to prevent and eliminate fake news from Cambodia in order to protect the rights, freedoms and dignity of all citizens. The fake news story about me that (I brought up above) is just a small thing, but if it is not possible for the media to jointly eliminate fake news, this can lead to conflict between the people and the people, the country and the country, or create a war […] Let us get rid of it completely, don’t let it become a fire, and let’s go and put it out. There is no harm in taking away this exaggerated freedom of expression and retrieving it responsibly, because only then will our fourth power be heard and trusted by the people […]


(14) Regarding a training center, please work with the Ministry of Public Function on the vision

I see ministries wishing to set up own training institutes. I will let the (Ministry of) Public Function to check on where it matters if there were specific expertise and skills required to develop. In addition, we need to make use of existing resources. Resources in the nation, various training schools, whether public or private, work together for the expansion […] into institutes. I have yet to answer. I want the Ministry of Public Functions to have a clear debate, arguments with long term vision so that we do not have to create just for the sense of creation, or to establish it and after that they are not running […] (I would urge) ministries/ institutions to check on where/what to outsource […] In this regard, I would say that a) strive to accelerate the re-operation of the journalism training centers; and b) cooperate with all schools (in the country), plus those of the existing association […]./.