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Journalists Demand Salaries from Parliamentarian

PHNOM PENH - A small group of journalists gathered in protest outside the offices of a Cambodian ruling party lawmaker and head of a media center in Kandal province Wednesday, demanding they be paid for work performed last year.

The journalists said they are among more than 50 who have not received payment for work from the parliamentarian Chea Chamroeun and were prepared to burn tires outside the media center, underscoring how closely tied journalists and politicians often are in Cambodia.

Outside the Khmer Science Media Center, journalists said they were owed between $300 and $500 for work performed last year for Chea Chamroeun, a lawmaker for the Cambodian People’s Party, who is the head of the media center and the rector of Chamroeun Polytechnic University.

The journalists, 53 in all, say they were not paid for work they did for an online and print publication that closed in September 2012.

Chea Chamroeun began negotiating with them on Wednesday, before they ignited tires outside the media center but after they had already filed complaints with the Club of Cambodian Journalists, Prime Minister Hun Sen and the ministries of Information and Labor.

“He promised to give all of us all the wages owed by the end of January,” said Yin Leang Kong, a representatives of the journalists, following an hourlong negotiation.

“It is settled,” Chea Chamroeun told reporters afterward. “There was no need for you to come and put your nose in.”