Cambodia: Reporters attacked over reports on timber industry crimes

Four local online news journalists were attacked on September 28 in the Tbong Khmum province after reporting on forestry crimes in the district. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) denounces any violence against journalists and calls on authorities to do more to protect journalist.

The reporters - Ren Samnang from PMN news, Muok Saren from Chakrapop news and Ran Khorn and Teng Norin  from the Eysan Post - filed a complaint at the Memot district police station in Tbong Khmum province against several suspects who they say threw a log through the window of their car and physically assaulted them.

The journalists said the group of attackers then returned to their truck and pursued the journalists before crashing into their car and running it off the road.

Nop Vy, executive director at Cambodian Journalists Alliance (CamboJA), said he was disappointed by the use of violence against the journalists, noting that reporters play an important role in monitoring and preventing illegal acts, including forestry crimes. “We know that forestry crimes are continuing to happen, and some cases involve local authorities and people who are powerful and rich,” he said.

CamboJA calls on the Royal Government to ensure the safety and security of all journalists so that they can exercise their right to freely report, without fear, on crimes that are taking place in Cambodian society.

The IFJ and CamboJA have recorded numerous incidents of attacks on journalists. From July 1 to September 30, CamboJA recorded 15 cases of persecution against journalists, including violence, arrests and court complaints.

Earlier this year, the IFJ documented the worrying decline in press freedom and democratic rights in Cambodia with a disturbing number of attacks levelled at journalists for their reporting on environmental issues. In an associated survey, 81 per cent of Cambodian journalists said their work caused them security concerns.

IFJ said: “Cambodia is a dangerous country for journalists, particularly those who cover crimes and collusion in the forestry and natural resources industries. We urge authorities to conduct a swift and transparent investigation into this troubling attack.”

For further information contact IFJ Asia - Pacific on ifj@ifj-asia.org

The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 140 countries

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