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International Journalist Group Censures Hun Sen for Remark


The Brussels-based International Federation of Journalists Tuesday expressed "shock and outrage" at public comments from Prime Minister Hun Sen last week that allegedly sent a Radio Free Asia reporter into hiding.

Hun Sen last week called Keo Nimol "insolent" and, according to the Federation, later asked another journalist the real name, background and political leanings of the reporter.

The Federation called on the prime minister to "publicly clarify" his comments, claiming his words had caused the reporter to flee "in fear after being targeted for abuse."

Government spokesman Khieu Kanharith could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

"Your radio station is insolent, and the one who asks questions is insolent too," Hun Sen told Keo Nimol after he asked a question last week, sparking concern that subordinates intent on gaining favor with the prime minister might harm the reporter.

A colleague of Keo Nimol told VOA Khmer Wednesday Keo Nimol was taking care of ill family members in Bangkok.

Keo Nimol "is now in hiding and fears for his personal safety," the Federation said.

"The prime minister is only undermining the principles of democracy by attempting to discredit and silence those who question the power structures," Federation President Christopher Warren said in a statement. "In the name of press freedom and journalists' safety in Cambodia, the prime minister must act to end the intimidation, or face the disapproval of the international community."

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