Thursday, 31.1.2008: Fortythree Khmer Reporters Threatened

Posted on 1 February 2008. Filed under: Week 545 |

The Mirror, Vol. 12, No. 545

“A report about the Cambodian reporters’ situation in 2007 released yesterday morning at Phnom Penh Hotel by the Cambodian Association for the Protection of Journalists found that there were at least 43 Khmer journalists who were threatened in 2007, and besides that, others were facing the courts with powerful people accusing them.

“The Cambodian Association for the Protection of Journalists considered the situation of reporters in 2007 as cruel and savage.

“Mr. Um Sarin, the president of the Cambodian Association for the Protection of Journalists, reported that a journalist in Pursat province was threatened with arson, a journalist in Battambang had a gun put to his head, and a journalist’s house in Svay Rieng was attacked with a grenade. These are the worst events for journalists in the past year 2007.

“At the same time, the Cambodian Association for the Protection of Journalists reminded the public also that the perpetrators of these attacks have not been brought to justice, resulting in impunity, which encourages criminals to make further attacks.

“Mr. Khieu Kanharith, the spokesperson of the Hun Sen government, who attended the conference yesterday, admitted that the situation and safety of journalists in Cambodia was still not good.

“However, the Minister, who is from the Cambodian People’s Party, also spoke covering up scandals of the government by blaming some reports as lacking in proper professionalism and ethics.

“It is noted that in late December 2007, the Minister used to issue a ban against [offending] cartoons and using rude words toward government officials, which is an effort to protect the government’s image, while it is publicly known that the government, ruled by Hun Sen, has also plenty of bad aspects.

“Thus it shows that the Ministry of Information is the main shield to protect the government, and it is also a threat for journalists. It is to note that this Ministry has never served the interests of the press, even when a court took the opportunity to use the UNTAC Transitional Criminal Law to ill-treat reporters, while the Law on the Press Regime had already been in effect for ten years, the Ministry still closed its eyes and ears. And just recently, reporters struggled themselves to insist that law enforcement should use the Law on the Press Regime toward reporters, when they are facing others relating to their work.

“It is reported that on 28-29 December 2007, editors-in-chief from various media institutions met in Sihanoukville [see also ‘KAF-Partner Club of Cambodian Journalists Hosts the 4th Cambodian Editors’ Forum‘] and released a joint statement, including 12 points, which mainly focused on the request to the government, to relevant institutions, especially to the courts and all law enforcement officials, to use the Law on the Press Regime to solve cases which may come up between the media and concerned bodies, and to stop the use of the UNTAC Transitional Criminal Law that led to reporters being arrested and detained.

“At that time, the forum noted that in the past, there was now a trend of suing journalists with the charge of having provided false information, after no longer treating cases of defamation as criminal cases. The forum considered this change as an intent to continue to arrest reporters, as this affect the press freedom in the Kingdom of Cambodia, by using gaps of the law to persecute journalist who perform their duties.” Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.02, #102, 31.01.2008

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Thursday, 31 January 2008

Chuoy Khmer, Vol.2, #36, 31.1.2008

  • Mr. Kem Sokha [president of Human Rights Party]: When the Human Rights Party Wins the 2008 Elections, It Will Cancel Land Concessions Given to Foreigners and Provide Them to Khmer Citizens

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.7, #1559, 31.1.2008

  • People of Chankrang Commune Accuse Commune Chief [Ran] of Selling Thousands of Hectares of Forest Land [Kratie]
  • League of Cambodian Journalists Strengthens Its Force in Provinces and Towns Countrywide

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.2, #102, 31.1.2008

  • Fortythree Khmer Reporters Threatened

Koh Santepheap, Vol.41, #6259, 31.1.2008

  • Ministry of Information’s Reaction: Taprohm Radio Warned of Reading Newspaper Articles and Adding Commentary
  • European Union Sends Peacekeepers to Darfur Border Regions

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.15, #3378, 31.1.2008

  • Yuon [Vietnamese] Nationals Rush to Enter Cambodia to Prepare to Vote on 27 July 2008
  • Foreign Co-Lawyer [Victor Koppe] for Nuon Chea Files Complaint Demanding Change of Judge [Ney Thol – because he is also the head of the Military Court]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.16, #4503, 31.1.2008

  • A Pursat Deputy Governor [Dom Kimdy and his 83-year-old mother] Died and Another Deputy Governor [Ok Mony] Seriously Wounded in Traffic Accident [29 January – Moung Russey, Battambang]
  • Veachar Khmer Publisher [Sy Ty] Held by Police on Accusation of Intentionally Breaking Someone’s Car Wing Mirrors [29 January – Kompong Speu]

Sralanh Khmer, Vol.3, #614, 31.1.2008

  • Sam Rainsy Calls for US Federal Bureau of Investigation to Release their Investigation Reports on the Grenade Attack on 30 March 1997 in Phnom Penh

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