The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) joins its affiliate the Cambodian Association for Protection of Journalists (CAPJ) in raising concerns over missing Canadian filmmaker and journalist Dave Walker.
It is now three weeks since the 58-year-old journalist and documentary maker was last seen and the IFJ calls on Cambodia’s police to escalate their investigations as fears for his safety and well-being intensify.
Walker, whose production company has been based in Cambodia since mid-2012, was last seen leaving his guesthouse in Siem Reap at about 2pm on February 14 to allow a housekeeper to clean it.
The journalist’s film production partner Sonny Chhuon has said that his colleague mentioned he would be ‘back in a while’ and left the guesthouse carrying nothing but a bottle of water. Siem Reap provincial Immigration Police officer Yut Sinin has been quoted as saying Mr Walker's departure was ‘entirely out of character’.
Walker was in Cambodia filming a documentary tracing Khmer Rouge officials for his own production company Animist Farms Films. He was well-known in Siem Riep among the media community there.
Authoritarianism and censorship is an increasing concern in Cambodia as press freedoms in the country slowly deteriorate and the IFJ has documented that investigative journalists are increasingly becoming the target of violence and retribution.
In September 2012, Cambodian journalist Hang Serei Odom was murdered after reporting on illegal logging in northern Ratanakiri Province and in April 2012 prominent environmental activist Chut Wutty was shot dead during his investigating into illegal logging and land seizures.
CAPJ have contacted police for an update on the case and are yet to receive any new information.
“We call on authorities to immediately escalate the investigation into Dave Walker’s disappearance,” CAPJ President, Um Sarin, said.
“The police must assure the journalist community and Mr Walker’s family and friends that they are doing everything they can to ensure they are putting all possible resources into this case”.
A website has been set up for anyone with information or queries about Dave Walker’s disappearance.