THE Cambodian government has instructed all media outlets in the country to address its leader as “Lord” Prime Minister.
From August onwards, Cambodian media will either have to use the honorary title when mentioning Prime Minister Hun Sen’s name, or face the consequences.
The new rule appears to be aimed specifically at media viewed by the government as pro-opposition and pro-Western. Pro-government media generally highlights Hun Sen’s formal title.
Authorities have also issued a stern warning for failure to comply although it did not specify the punishment for doing so.
The Information Ministry said on Thursday that all media must use his full honorary title —”Samdech Akka Moha Sena Padei Techo Hun Sen” — in the opening lines of print articles, radio and TV stories about the leader.
Loosely translated, Hun Sen’s official six-word designation reads: “Lord Prime Minister and Supreme Military Commander.”
The rule also applies to several ruling party officials and first lady Bun Rany, who also holds formal honorary titles.
On Thursday, Hun Sen threatened legal action against a newspaper which was widely seen as critical of his administration.
— The Cambodia Daily (@cambodiadaily) May 13, 2016
He alleged The Cambodia Daily had “distorted” his remarks from a speech on Tuesday. He also told the newspaper’s journalists that he would prefer they no longer wrote articles about his speeches, the paper reported.
Over the past month, Hun Sen’s administration launched a clampdown on its critics and dissidents with the imprisonment of an opposition politician, four human rights workers, and a senior elections official.
The government also charged a U.N. official and dragged a political analyst to court over defamation allegations.
Additional Reporting by Associated Press