The National Election Committee yesterday responded to accusations made against a television news presenter that was suspected by Facebook users of speaking Vietnamese during live coverage of the national election.
On Monday, a video surfaced online accusing TVK news presenter Phal David of not speaking Khmer, leaving social media users confused.
“TV presenter Phal David is Cambodian, he was speaking in Khmer when he was coordinating with his production team,” the NEC statement said. “He wasn’t speaking Vietnamese; Facebook users are confused.”
According to the statement, the video was intentionally edited to create an atmosphere of confusion among social media users.
“It was a trick done by unknown parties to create public misunderstanding. If you listen closely, you’d know that Mr David was not speaking the Vietnamese language,” it added. “Both of the presenters were Cambodian, and they also went to vote like other Cambodian citizens on July 29.”
According to the NEC statement, the election body had contracted LMA International to produce and broadcast TVK’s programmes during the national election.
At the time of the incident, the programme was still in its testing phase and was not ready to be broadcast officially.
It said that during one of its trial runs, Mr David was asking his producers to clarify a matter about one of the provinces.
It noted that the incident was a misunderstanding that social media users blew out of proportion.
Last month, the Interior Ministry investigated several fake news cases being shared on social media.
In one case, social media users accused a Vietnamese-Cambodian association of encouraging non-citizens to vote during last month’s national election.
In response, the Vietnamese-Khmer Association of Cambodia filed a complaint with the ministry, demanding an investigation.
The association denied accusations that it was mobilising Vietnamese nationals to participate in the election.
Prior to election day, anti-immigration rhetoric was on the rise with multiple parties claiming that deporting undocumented immigrants would be the first thing on their agenda if they were elected.
Three political parties at the time criticised the ruling CPP for its failure to implement laws effectively.
However, according to statistics released by the General Department of Immigration in December, 14,018 foreigners from 85 countries have been deported and permanently barred from entry into the Kingdom since 2014.
Of them, 10,908 – or nearly 78 percent – were Vietnamese nationals.