Trump and I object to anarchic media, says prime minister of Cambodia

Cambodian PM says, journalists reporting human rights could undermine national security


Reuters February 28, 2017
PHOTO: REUETRS

PHNOM PENH: Cambodia's Prime Minister Hun Sen has expressed sympathy for US President Donald Trump's antipathy towards the media, saying both he and Trump saw the media as stirring anarchy.

Sen, whose rule has been marked by accusations of human rights abuses and corruption, said Cambodian journalists who reported on human rights could undermine national security.

"Donald Trump understands that they are an anarchic group," Sen said of journalists at an event on Monday.

Sen had said before the US election that he hoped Trump would win as he would be good for world peace.

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Political tension has been increasing in Cambodia recently as opponents of Sen accuse him of unfair manoeuvring to maintain his grip on power.

Sen has warned that an opposition election win could lead to the return of civil war.

Last week, the US embassy said it was deeply concerned about legislation introduced by the ruling party to make it easier for the government to dissolve political parties, saying it restricted freedom of expression and legitimate political activity.

The change to a 1998 election law gives the government the power to dissolve parties under what the embassy described as "vaguely defined circumstances", including incitement, promoting secession or anything that could harm national security.

The ruler criticised what he said was the media's focus on human rights, which he said could endanger peace and security.

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"Anarchic human rights are rights that destroy the nation. I hope foreign friends understand this," he said.

The media in Cambodia has for years enjoyed more freedom than that in many of its neighbours. Media, in particular, domestic outlets, are frequently accused of being unfair to his government.

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