Which observers?

[Sent to the Phnom Penh Post on October 3, 2015. Not published.]

Not for the first time, a Post journalist inserts his/her opinion into an article and gives it a bogus authenticity by attributing it to unnamed “observers”. “Climate change targets aim high”, by Alessandro Marazzi Sassoon in your October 2 edition, asserts in its first paragraph that “observers yesterday questioned the [government climate change] plan’s feasibility given a lack of both funding and political will”.

In fact, no one quoted in the article mentions “a lack of both funding and political will”.

The only observer comment that might be stretched into a reference to “a lack of funding” is the statement by Chhorm Chhun of the Cambodia Climate Change Network that “Cambodia can’t rely on foreign donors alone” to fund the plan.

Pisey Pech of Transparency International is quoted as saying that the Cambodian public needs more information “about climate governance issues”. This may be true, but it has no relevance to any lack of funding or of political will.

However, the article does conclude with an assertion concerning a lack of political will: “the [government] proposal is not genuine”, and the international community should have nothing to do with it.

The source of this criticism, which is the only observation in the article that comes even close to the opening assertion of what “observers” say, is CNRP parliamentarian Son Chhay! It seems that, in the Post, opposition politicians qualify as dispassionate, objective observers, at least if they say something that can be twisted into agreement with the journalist’s opinion.