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Journalist Lauds Cambodian Media Ethics

Thai media has served to conflate diplomatic issues with Cambodia, with more nationalism than professionalism, a leading Cambodian journalist said Monday.

“If all the journalists respect the truth, people on both sides would understand the truth, and they would see which country is acting improperly,” said Pen Samithy, president of the Club of Cambodian Journalists, as a guest on “Hello VOA.”

“But as we have seen, in Thailand there are many media that still have a nationalist view, very much, which makes it so the Thai people can’t receive the truth,” he said.

Pen Samithy was discussing a new draft code of ethics for journalists, at a time when Cambodia’s opposition media has come under increasing pressure.

At least one opposition editor, Hang Chakra, was jailed recently, after publishing stories alleging corruption in the Council of Ministers. A second, Dam Sith, closed his newspaper rather than face similar charges.

Meanwhile, Cambodia and Thailand have become embroiled in an increasingly complicated diplomatic row over Prime Minister Hun Sen’s support of Thaksin Shinawatra, the deposed prime minister wanted on corruption charges in Thailand, even as troops on both sides are massed on the border near Preah Vihear temple.

Pen Samithy praised Cambodian journalists for their help to the nation. While a code of ethics already existed among journalists, he said, the new one was a good sign of further cooperation, especially regarding the pursuit of “truth.”