Feb 28

2017

GD Partner pens letter to the Guardian on Freedom of the Press in Cambodia

The Guardian has published GD partner Alexandre Prezanti’s letter on how the Government of Cambodia is using Donald Trump’s attack on the media to justify a crackdown on freedom of the press in the Kingdom. The letter is available online (here), and in print in the 28 February 2017 edition. The letter reads as follows:

And so it has happened. Less than 100 days into his presidency, Donald Trump is being cited by a corrupt and despotic regime to justify new restrictions on rights and freedoms. On Saturday, Cambodia’s council of ministers spokesman Phay Siphan vowed to “crush” media entities that endanger the “peace and security” of the kingdom, calling on all “foreign agents” to self-censor or be shut down. He justified this threat by citing Trump’s recent expulsion of critical media outlets from a White House briefing (Report, 25 January).

“Donald Trump’s ban of international media giants … sends a clear message that President Trump sees that news published by those media institutions does not reflect the real situation,” the Phnom Penh Post quoted the spokesman as saying. “Freedom of expression must be located within the domain of the law and take into consideration national interests and peace. The president’s decision has nothing to do with democracy or freedom of expression. This comes in the wake of a new wave of human rights violations by Cambodia (including the murder of a prominent government critic, Kem Ley, and a new law designed to dismantle opposition parties) in the run-up to local and national elections. Such comments demonstrate how President Trump’s careless rhetoric and narcissistic acts can be used by despotic regimes across the globe to justify human rights violations.

Alexandre Prezanti

Global Diligence LLP