The Ministry of Information has demanded that CamboJA News correct the content of its March 18 article which excluded key points made by the ministry’s spokesperson regarding the revocation of three media licences.

In a March 20 statement, ministry undersecretary of state and spokesman Meas Sophorn said CamboJA’s English-language article – “Information Ministry Revokes Three Media Licenses Following Reports on Senior Official’s Role in Land Fraud” – used abridged versions of his comments.

Sophorn said the editing was intended to mislead the public regarding the ministry’s March 16 decision to revoke the licences of three online outlets: Rasmey Kampong Cham, Dumneng Knong Srok and the Federation of Cambodia-ASEAN Journalists.

The spokesman said he was very disappointed with CamboJA, which he said claimed to be an independent, professional and ethical journalistic outlet but had not lived up to its ethical obligations.

“[We] urge CamboJA News to immediately correct their article’s content. Full quotes should be included, as the shortened form selected by the author of the article exaggerated some points, while omitting others,” he added.

He also demanded that CamboJA respect the law and regulations in force, along with its responsibility to behave ethically.

“If the outlet refuses to make the necessary corrections, the ministry will take the appropriate legal action,” he said.

Chhorn Chansy, editor-in-chief of CamboJA News, said on March 20 that after receiving a copy of the ministry’s press release, his team was verifying the content of the article.

“We will be more than happy to publish corrections should we find inaccuracies or incomplete quotes,” he said.

“Once we have reviewed the article, we will make a decision. As a rule, the use of comments or quotes is at the discretion of our journalists, who understand what should be included and what should not be included. This is up to each of our writers,” he added.

He also confirmed that he would also investigate whether the author of the article in question had selected which comments to use in order to suggest bias.

“Overall, our journalistic team adheres to professional ethics and makes sure our information is comprehensive,” he said.

Sophorn reiterated that the decision to revoke the licences of the three media outlets followed the publication of “fake news” which lacked verification from multiple sources.

“They refused to make corrections to the misinformation that they ran, and so their licences were revoked,” he said.