“Essential viewing … a vote of encouragement of few programmes
willing to veer from the mainstream agenda.” – The Guardian

Reviews

Always essential viewing, for two reasons. First, and most obviously, half an hour after you’ve tuned in to Unreported World, you’ll have learned something you didn’t know. Second, as a vote of encouragement of few programmes willing to veer from the mainstream agenda. This installment visits Cambodia, where a cruel irony is in play. Thirty years after Cambodians were herded off their land by Pol Pot’s deranged Khmer Rouge cadres, they’re being displaced all over again – by a property boom driven by tourists, many of them there to see the original Killing Fields.

As members of brutal dictator Pol Pot’s regime stand trial for war crimes, this episode of the acclaimed foreign affairs series explores how Cambodia has fared since the fall of the Khmer Rouge 30 years ago. In some respects it’s doing very well: property in the capital Phnom Penh is worth three times as much as it was two years ago. On the down side, this has led to residents being forced off their land. The film makes uncomfortable viewing as reporter Jenny Kleeman investigates allegations that the Cambodian authorities are behind violent evictions. She visits a “resettlement village” where the roadside is littered with faeces. This, one doctor claims, has meant that diseases such as typhoid are endemic. Elsewhere she meets a community leader whose family became caught up in a stand-off with armed police.

The latest dispatch from the frontline of global injustice is from Cambodia, where blameless slum-dwellers are being bulldozed into home-lessness by faceless construction magnates. With a property and tourism boom ensuring corruption is not confined to the construction sector, tactics adopted by land developers and military police are increasingly redolent of the scorched-earth bastardisms of the Khmer Rouge. Characteristically direct and unambiguous, UW regular Jenny Kleeman presides over another tale of breathtaking international awfulness.