Cambodia to build memorial for killed journos

PHNOM PENH: Cambodia announced plans today to build a monument to dozens of foreign and local journalists killed covering the country’s 1970-75 war won by the communist Khmer Rouge regime.

A ceremony ahead of its construction will be held next month, coinciding with the 35th anniversary of the regime’s victory and a reunion of correspondents who covered the war, said government spokesman Khieu Kanharith.

“The monument is to pay tribute to those reporters and photojournalists killed... and to attract their family members and relatives to visit Cambodia,” he told AFP.

At least 37 journalists were killed or disappeared during the brutal conflict between the US-backed Lon Nol government and Khmer Rouge guerrillas supported by North Vietnamese fighters.

Khieu Kanharith said officials had not yet decided where in Phnom Penh to put up the monument, dedicated to reporters from Japan, France, the United States, Switzerland, Germany, Austria, India, Laos, Australia and Cambodia.

Chhang Song, former information minister for the Lon Nol government, told AFP he had commissioned the monument and was organising the reunion of journalists, to be held on April 20-23.

Several similar correspondent reunions have been held in Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam, but this would be the first such event in Cambodia, organisers said in a statement. Up to two million people were executed or died under the Khmer Rouge.