IFJ Condemns Court Decision in Cambodian Criminal Defamation Case and Calls for Release of Radio Journalist

The International Federation of Journalists today condemned a Cambodian court’s decision to deny bail to Mam Sonando, the jailed owner of Beehive Radio FM 105.


Sonando is facing charges of defamation and inciting people to commit crime, and has been imprisoned since his arrest on October 11. On November 3, Judge Saly Theara dismissed Sonando’s lawyer’s argument that he should be facing a misdemeanour charge, not a criminal offence.


“The IFJ has repeatedly called for the release of Mam Sonando, and will continue to pressure the government throughout his trial. We appeal to the court to act fairly and according to justice,” said IFJ president Christopher Warren.


Prosecutor Doung Loenug, acting on behalf of prime minister Hun Sen, announced that he has brought an additional charge of broadcasting false information against Sonando. Hun Sen and the National Assembly for Broadcasting filed lawsuits against Sonando after he broadcast an interview that was critical of the prime minister’s border policies.


“Mam Sonando is guilty of nothing more than reporting the truth, and it is obvious that he has been singled out and persecuted because his reports were critical of the prime minister,” said the IFJ president.


The IFJ has called on King Sihanouk to use his power to stop this unacceptable attack on press freedom immediately.


For more information visit http://www.ifj-asia.org/page/cambodia051021.html


For further information contact Christopher Warren on +61 (0) 411 757 668

The IFJ represents over 500,000 journalists in more than 110 countries