Cambodia has said that journalists who describe the government as “Hun Sen’s regime” or the “Phnom Penh regime” may face investigation from authorities.
Interior Minister Sar Kheng said journalists using these terms “do not respect the will of the Cambodian people, who turned out to vote”.
Prime Minister Hun Sen’s ruling Cambodian People’s Party won a landslide victory in general elections in July after it oversaw the dissolution of its only challenger, the Cambodia National Rescue Party.
A spokesman for the government said: “The spokesman for the government, in this context, has learned that the use of ‘Phnom Penh regime’ and ‘Hun Sen regime’ is intended to incite and sabotage, to smash national solidarity and the national unity of Cambodia, that is living in harmony.”
“The spokesman’s office will review and inspect all media institutions that don’t respond to this appeal,” it added.
Nop Vy, director of the Cambodian Center for Independent Media, said the move was a restrictive measure.
“I think it’s the freedom of journalists [to use the term]. We don’t need to coerce them to not use these terms or coerce them to use the terms which we think we want them to use…it’s not right,” he said.
The terms have been deployed extensively by Sam Rainsy, the former head of the CNRP. He did not respond to a request for comment.
Phay Siphan, a government spokesman, said the words in Khmer “are used to stage a revolution.”