The Tools of the Trade–Journalism Cambodia Style–1990’s
Covering the Cambodia debacle in the 1980’s and 1990’s was an assignment fraught with danger and intrigue. The Khmer Rouge had executed more than 4 dozen foreigners–the vast majority journalists. Their primary opposition, the Vietnamese backed and installed government of Hun Sen, has summarily targeted and murdered dozens more, in addition to burning their offices after they were ransacked by government mobs, jailing dozens more, and scores received regular death threats. Scores more fled the country. This is in addition to the pervasive organized crime figures, who held powerful sway over the entire government leadership.
This photograph, by freelance shooter Ira Chaplain, shows me in front of my closet, which was equipped for pretty much any contingency, at my office and residence at the Phnom Penh Post, a fearless advocate, purveyor and defender of a free press which I remain proud to have been its senior correspondent. No better paper existed, in my mind, in the world in the 1990’s.
The assortment of Russian, Chinese, U.S., and other weapons, along with enough kit to equip a platoon at a moments notice if we were required by events to go to the bush, shows one can never be too careful or unprepared when defending the ability of a free press to carry out its duties. Plus it was fun……
One can never be too vigilant in defending the right of a free press to carry out their duties without fear or favour. Superior firepower often is a useful tool toward that end.