Top Government Information Chief Ek Tha Passes Away

Photo from Facebook of Ek Tha

Colleagues mourn loss of distinguished journalist

PHNOM PENH--Ek Tha, also known as Ek Madra, deputy director of the Information Department of the Office of the Council of Ministers and a former reporter for the Reuters news agency, died at the age of 51 from a heart attack on Thursday morning.

Government spokesman Phay Siphan said Ek Tha was very involved in promoting the real Cambodia to the world​ and his body had been sent to his traditional home in Kirivong district of Takeo province.

“It is very unfortunate that we have lost resources and a great colleague at the Council of Ministers,” Siphan said.

Ek Tha was a journalist for The Cambodia Daily and Reuters before becoming a spokesman and deputy director of the information department at the Council of Ministers. He was also an author of a number of works, including Fight the Enemy, Find Love, The Factors Contributing to Cambodia's Civil War 1950s-1980s, Lessons Then & Now, Long Love, Short Life and Cambodia: Memories of Politics, War & Love.

He was recognized as one of Cambodia's smartest and most talented reporters. He received a scholarship in 1996 to study journalism at the University of Southern California before returning to Cambodia. In 1997, he worked for Reuters, now known as Thomson Reuters, in 1998 and resigned in 2009. He worked as an informal reporter for some time before joining the government.

According to a history posted on his personal Facebook page, he fled to Vietnam as a child during the civil war and was not in the country during the Khmer Rouge era.

He held a master's degree in international relations in diplomacy. He worked for UNTAC in 1993 as a translator for the Pursat Election Office. From 1994-97, he was a reporter for The Cambodia Daily and continued as a reporter for Reuters.

He joined the government as an advisor to the Ministry of Information, permanent deputy chairman of the Government Spokesperson Unit, and deputy director of the Information Department of the Office of the Council of Ministers.

He used the name Ek Madra after graduating, claiming to be for personal safety, and returned to using the original name Ek Tha after joining the government at the Council of Ministers.

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