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Mirrors Reflect What They See – Everybody is Invited to Look at Them

By: Norbert Klein Posted: October-01-2010 in
Norbert Klein

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 684

Tough some of our readers may have read the following exchange in the Comments section of The Mirror, I am lifting it here into the main section of The Mirror. I think it relates to the fundamental purpose of The Mirror, as it was produced since 1997, and it was also explained to our regularly increasing number of readers.

During these many years, we experienced time and again that some readers expressed a variety of opinions, including accusations that The Mirror is too close to the Cambodian Peoples’ Party, or too close to the Sam Rainsy Party, or in opposition to the Government of the Kingdom of Cambodia, or unjustly opposing positions of opposition parties.

Such accusations were mostly based on a basic misunderstanding: The Mirror tried to present – in English translations – what had been published in Khmer language newspapers, adding references or reproductions of other, publicly available materials which had not found representations in Khmer newspapers, though they added additional, related information or opinion.

The recently received accusation completely disregards the enormous workload to produce these translations. To produce translations is different from just “recycling other’s materials.”

And this accusation also completely misunderstands the purpose of The Mirror: it was created from the beginning “to recycle other’s materials” – though in translations – from a wide range of what a mirror can reflect in order to invite our readers to reflect and maybe to discuss these different materials. The Mirror was not created to be an instrument to promote a specific position of its own.

That was and that is the goal. Maybe it was not always served well. Maybe it related in controversies – but this is natural in a multi-party liberal democracy, according to the Constitution. To have different opinions which have to be considered, in order to find common solutions, is normal.

But to be accused of dishonesty is new – it had never happened during the many years since the beginning of The Mirror in 1997.

When the accusation is added that The Mirror is dangerous, I am simply surprised: we try to share publicly accessible information, very often also referring, with clear quotes, to the Constitution of the Kingdom of Cambodia, and often inviting leads to better information, if readers think that what we presented was not correct or not sufficient. This invitations still stands – and it would be good to know which of the materials we presented are considered dangerous – why and for whom.

That I presented myself “as the authority on wide ranging subject matters relating to Cambodia” is not true – I would like to be shown where I did do this. The Mirror is always trying to point to publicly available, relevant information and share it – even where there may be powers that have their own, particular interests. The authority on all matters relating to Cambodia is – according to Article 51 of the Constitution of the Kingdom of Cambodia, the Cambodian people: “All power belongs to the people.”

From the Comments section of The Mirror

# Straus Says:
September 29th, 2010

well, i was obliged to come to this site by the references in the articles/reports that quoted Mr. Klein on matters relating to blogging, the internet, news media, border issues, and wide range of other matters relating to Cambodia citing him as authority on the matters. I think it is kind of dishonest and dangerous to use Cambodian Mirror, Cambodian Mirror Editor as a tool to empower yourself as the authority on wide ranging subject matters relating to Cambodia when in fact what you have here is only a blog, recycling other’s materials and your occasional rambling, plain talking about your observation of the routines.

# Norbert Klein Says:
September 29th, 2010

@Straus – You may, of course, disagree with what is written in this blog, but to call it dishonest is a surprise: I have regularly explained what is being attempted to do with The Mirror since 1997. It has changed over the years, but again, if you would have read “About the Mirror” carefully, you would probably not have written what you wrote, or would know that what you wrote is not up to the point.

I am also surprised about your allegation that what could be read in The Mirror is “dangerous” – is is dangerous that the Mirror did, for many years, provide TRANSLATIONS from the Khmer press into the English language (not just “recycling other’s materials”), and where The Mirror carried material which had not been in the Khmer press – for example some UNESCO documents. For whom is it dangerous to provide information (and, as long range readers of The Mirror can surely testify, I normally state the sources clearly from where quotes and documents originate).

We had, over the years, a steadily increasing number of readers, more recently up to 10,000 visits in one month – it seems, Ms. Straus, or Mr. Straus, from feedback, that the majority are Cambodian. And, as I always identified me clearly, I am always prepared to enter into a discussion with readers. Discussions with me are welcome, but I hope that there will also be discussions among the readers of The Mirror.

Recently – as I am in Germany for some weeks, which I had explained to the readers – I could not mirror much of what is in the Khmer media – but I tried to related to issues also relevant for Cambodian society, with a perspective from Germany.

Norbert Klein

This article was first published by The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 684 - Thursday, 30.9.2010
Have a look at the last editorial - you can access it directly from the main page of The Mirror.

Norbert Klein is the Editor of The Mirror – The Mirror is a daily comprehensive summary and translation of the major Khmer language press - More about The Mirror

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