Attacks on the Press in 2006 - Snapshots: Cambodia
|Publisher||Committee to Protect Journalists|
|Publication Date||February 2007|
|Cite as||Committee to Protect Journalists, Attacks on the Press in 2006 - Snapshots: Cambodia, February 2007, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/47c5675ac.html [accessed 28 March 2015]|
Military police arrested Hem Choun, a reporter with the Khmer-language newspaper Samrek Yutethor, as he reported June 7 on the government's eviction of squatters in the village of Sombok Chab, 11 miles (18 kilometers) outside Phnom Penh. The Cambodian Center for Human Rights said authorities refused to recognize Choun as a journalist. A Phnom Penh judge charged Choun with wrongful damage of property and denied bail.
Legislation eliminating prison terms for defamation was passed into law on June 23. Terms had ranged up to one year. Criminal defamation laws remained in effect, punishable by fines of 1 million to 10 million riels (US$255 to US$2,550).
On July 14, the government filed a criminal defamation case against Dam Sithek, publisher of the Khmer-language Moneakseka newspaper, for allegedly publishing false information. The case stemmed from a June 13 article that accused the government of corruption and described a power struggle within the ruling Cambodian People's Party, according to the Alliance for Freedom of Expression in Cambodia.
Despite Prime Minister Hun Sen's announcement that charges would be dropped, a Phnom Penh court left criminal defamation cases intact against three journalists: Mom Sonando, head of Sambok Khmum (Beehive Radio); Kem Sokha, a radio commentator and president of the Cambodian Center for Human Rights; and Pa Guon Tieng, a journalist and activist. Each had been jailed for criticizing a new border treaty with Vietnam. They were released on bail on January 18 amid international pressure, but the cases were pending throughout the year.