Most Journalists Mentioned the Right to Keep Information Sources Confidential, but the Courts Do Not Accept It – Wednesday, 30.9.2009

Posted on 1 October 2009. Filed under: Week 632 |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 632

“Phnom Penh: Many organizations and associations cooperated to hold a workshop about a network of persons and institutions to provide legal protection for journalists, where also representatives from civil society, government officials, and legal experts attended.

“The director of the Department to Defend the Poor of the Cambodian Defenders Project, Mr. Yong Phanit, said during the workshop in the morning of 28 September 2009 that the freedom of the press in Cambodia is guaranteed by the Constitution, by the press law, and by other relevant laws. Looking at the press law, it provides many kinds of rights for the press, and it speaks also about the responsibility of the press. Those rights include the right to seek information and the right to receive all kinds of information, including information controlled by the Royal Government, except for information affecting national security and public order.

“Mr. Yong Phanit added that these rights are fully guaranteed, by law, for the press. Another right is the right to keep information sources confidential. This is an absolute right of journalists by which they can keep information about sources of information confidential. Also, journalists have the right to publish information without pre-checking. Thus, when they have received information, they can publish it as they want to without checking. He added that journalists have also the right to create organizations or associations.

“He went on to say that at the same time, the law requires the journalists to be responsible for what they publish. If journalists break the law, they have to take responsibility for it. Based on the press law, the courts have the right to fine them, and the courts can also order them to publish corrections later, or to pay compensation to victims. But practically, at present, the [UNTAC time] criminal law is sometimes used to prosecute journalists who have done something which is considered to relate to articles of that law [the UNTAC criminal law], while by law, if somebody is under the control of a special law, they must be treated according to that special law, if they have violated anything under this law. Besides this, they are under the general laws like everybody else.

“Presiding over the workshop, a secretary of state of Ministry of Information, Mr. Nov Sovathero, said that, looking at the whole situation, we see that some journalists who have been jailed or fined are mostly accused of disinformation and defamation, affecting other people’s reputation. When courts requested them to provide information or documents to prove their reporting, journalists always mention the right to keep their sources of information confidential, an argument that the courts cannot accept. This is the root of the problem, and the reason for what is happening with regard to journalists in their profession life at present.

“Mr. Nov Sovathero added that journalists are really free to select the information to be published for their readers – they have to decide carefully whether to publish or not to publish something. They have to consider whom a publication would affect, or whether or not it will affect them in turn, if the information they would publish is not true.

“The aim of the workshop was to identify those who could be involved to take the responsibility for establishing a press freedom network, to promote the support for affected journalists, and to allow everybody to identify areas of problems.” Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #2059, 30.9.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #298, 30.9.2009

  • Disastrous Storm Attacked Sandan District, Killing Eight People, Injuring Twelve, and Destroying Thirty Houses [on 29 September 2009 – Kompong Thom]
  • The Club of Cambodian Journalists Expressed Concern over the Dismissal of Five Staff Members of Radio Free Asia [saying that it will affect the employment rights of other journalists]
  • UNDP: In 2010, the Cambodian Economy Can Function Smoothly

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #2059, 30.9.2009

  • Most Journalists Mentioned the Right to Keep Information Sources Confidential, but the Courts Do Not Accept It
  • UNDP: Commune Data Are Dependable Reports to Observe Poverty and Progress in Cambodia
  • A Deputy District Forestry Chief Demanded US$5,000 from a Wood Merchant, while the District Forestry Chief Was Angry as a Crime Was Found, but Was Not Suppressed [Preah Vihear]
  • A Thai Demining Delegation Comes to Study the Mine Situation in Cambodia
  • The Number of Deaths of People Killed by the Typhoon in the Philippines Reaches 240

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #498, 30.9.2009

  • Mr. Yim Sovann: Khmer Leaders Must Be Careful Asking for and Using Loans from Foreign Countries because the People Have to Pay Them Back
  • ASEAN Leaders in Charge of Drug Concerns Held 30th Meeting in Cambodia

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6766, 30.9.2009

  • A Quickly Reacting Official [of the Council of Ministers] Blamed Thai Politicians for Taking the Preah Vihear Temple of Cambodia as a Pretext to Fight for Their Own Power
  • The Authorities Will Remove the Houses of 23 Families of the Community B, if They Do Not Accept the Solutions Offered [to take a flat or Riel 15 million to Riel 20 million in compensation – US$3,750 to US$5,000]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #5008, 30.9.2009

  • Border Disputes: The Thai Deputy Prime Minister [Mr. Suthep Thaugsuban] Plans to Meet Samdech Hun Sen
  • [Opposition party president] Heads to France to Defend Himself Against [Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation] Hor Namhong’s [defamation] Accusation
  • US Ambassador [Ms. Carol Rodley]: Democracy in Cambodia Is Like Democracy in America: It Is Not Perfect
  • [About 100] Discharged Veterans Gathered to Ask for Intervention [from the provincial authorities] to Pay Out Their Salaries [since they have been discharged already one year and seven months ago – Banteay Meanchey]

Sereypheap Thmey, Vol.17, #1797, 30.9.2009

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2 Responses to “Most Journalists Mentioned the Right to Keep Information Sources Confidential, but the Courts Do Not Accept It – Wednesday, 30.9.2009”

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I usually dont post in Blogs but your blog forced me to, amazing work.. Kind regards from france

Thanks a lot – and it takes a lot of work in addition to the selection and translation. As you see, we add a number of links related to the context and background, and add “Notes:” – your response tells us it is worth while.


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