Agriculture Ministry Reacts against an Article of CambojaNews

The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries has sent a letter to the Editor of CambojaNews, reacting against its recent article.

The full letter reads as follows:

"The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF) wishes to express its concerns regarding a recent article published by CambojaNews titled "Family of Violently Beaten Government Critic Seeks Justice dated: 14th September 2023". Specifically, MAFF notes that:

1. The article is credited to an author named Khuon Narim, while it was Jack Brook who contacted the MAFF spokesperson and presented himself as a CambojaNews's journalist. Jack Brook's name is no where to be found in the article, not even as a co-author. Why is Jack Brook not credited to this article?

2. The article depicted Ny Nak as a credible critic of Government policies without examining the substances of his posts which are mostly baseless claims/accusations against Government officials followed by his online sale advertisement.

3. The article speculates that the attack on Ny Nak was politically motivated solely based on his recent baseless posts criticizing Government officials and institutions, and speculations from so-called rights groups. However, there is no evidence to support this claim. A significant portion of the article is dedicated to create connections between Ny Nak's criticism on social media and the assault, raising a question why CambojaNews Jack Brook and Khuon Narim ignored any other possibilities.

4. The article directly inserts the minister's name in the story, even though the minister has never been mentioned by name in any of Ny Nak's recent Facebook posts.

5. Despite receiving comments and explanations from both MAFF and Government spokespersons, Jack Brook failed to substantially include them in the article; instead, he reached out to busy MAFF minister for comment - when everything has been said by the spokespersons - only to highlight in the article that the minister "could not be reached for comment". This is another attempt to link minister's name to the incident.

6. The article quotes Adhoc NGO's employee and includes speculative and defamatory comments with misspelled names: "Soeng Senkarun" and "Senkaruan". MAFF is considering taking legal action against the author of the defamatory comments if found out to be his/hers.

Following notes above, MAFF believes that the article contains unsubstantiated claims and allegations, which raises questions about the professionalism and intentions of CambojaNews especially its authors either Jack Brook or Khuon Narim. MAFF has consistently upheld press freedom and individual rights of expression but maintains a strong stance against media outlets that fail to adhere to professional ethics by disseminating false information or intentionally misleading public opinion based on individuals false claims and speculations.

MAFF promptly urges CambojaNews to rectify these serious breaches of journalistic ethics by removing unsubstantiated claims and speculations that taint MAFF and their leaders reputation and especially by removing the minister's name from the article.

MAFF encourages CambojaNews to take steps to ensure that such malicious intentions and defamatory speculations do not recur in the future which would result in legal actions that could lead to the same outcome of the then VOD.

Phnom Penh, Friday, September 15, 2023"

Source: Agence Kampuchea Presse