PHNOM PENH —
Prime Minister Hun Sen has announced he will hold an annual dinner for journalists, the first of its kind since U.N. administered elections in 1993.
Ouk Kim Seng, Ministry of Information spokesman, said the event would be held each year on January 14 and Information Minister Khieu Kanharith would also attend.
Hun Sen said he did not want the event to be seen as a form of corruption or attempted bribery.
Kim Seng said that about 700 journalists, from both government-friendly and critical media outlets, would be invited to attend.
Ou Virak, founder and president of the Future Forum think tank, said it was likely that the gathering would benefit the ruling party.
“Some of the most influential people are journalists. Meeting like this with journalists is considered a good thing because it allows them to get to know each other,” he said.
“In a democracy it is considered a smart move and there’s nothing wrong about that,” he added.
However, Moeun Chhean Narridh, director of Cambodia Institute for Media Studies, cautioned that the event would “somehow affect the professionalism of the journalists.”
“When you sit at a table with the leader, whether you want to or not, your attitude will change somehow,” he said.