Interior Ministry spokesperson warned CamboJA reporter over report on opposition Candlelight Party
CamboJA reporter Khuon Narim received a verbal threat from Ministry of Interior spokesperson Khieu Sopheak during a phone interview on May 29. Sopheak warned the journalist that he could go to jail for asking questions about the opposition Candlelight Party.
"Such nonsense talk [questions], does a journalist want to go to jail?" Sopheak said.
This is not the first time that a CamboJA reporter has received a warning or threat from an Interior Ministry official. In May alone, Narim received three warnings from Sopheak while reporting on the opposition Candlelight Party.
On May 12, Narim called Sopheak to ask why the Ministry of Interior had not provided a copy of the Candlelight Party's original registration letter, but instead had only issued a clarification letter.
"Are you with the Candlelight Party?” Sopheak replied. “Is CamboJA taking sides with Candlelight? You must ask in the name of a journalist, not as a spokesperson for Candlelight.”
"Please be a professional journalist, and don't be a mercenary journalist working for foreigners. Who is giving CamboJA money?" he continued.
On May 9, after a meeting between the Ministry of Interior and the leadership of the Candlelight Party, Narim called Sopheak to ask about the results of the meeting.
However, Sopheak instead questioned Narim about where CamboJA had been getting its funding.
"Where do you get your salary from? You must know the funding source. I would ask who supports CamboJA? Where does CamboJA get funding to do that work?" Sopheak said.
"I will not give you the information, you yourself don't know who you are. I don't know where CamboJA is from, so how can I give you the information? As a journalist, you must show your identity," he added.