The International Federation of Journalists today expressed its concerned over military officers targeting journalists who have been reporting on illegal logging activities.
On September 29, Radio Free Asia journalist, Ratha Visal, was following up local leads about illegal logging near the borders of the northern provinces of Ratanakiri and Stoeung Treng when he was targeted by a military convoy.
“The IFJ is very concerned that reporters are being targeted in this way,” said IFJ President Christopher Warren.
Visal’s leg was injured when a vehicle driven by a military lieutenant hit him. The lieutenant then fired three shots in the air. Visal had been taking photographs of illegal logging activities.
“The important role of the free press is compromised when others try to intimidate and harm journalists,” said the IFJ President. “If authorities fail to address illegal activities that impact on the community, then journalists’ right to report freely and independently without fearing for their safety becomes essential in making sure the public stays informed,” said Warren.
According to Visal, illegal logging is an ongoing problem in Cambodia that has been largely ignored by provincial authorities. The reporter has lodged complaints by telephone with local police and a provincial judge.
In a separate incident on September 5, another journalist was also intimidated by a military officer for reports about illegal logging. The IFJ calls on authorities to investigate the incident and bring those involved to justice.
For further information contact Christopher Warren on +61 (0) 411 757 668
The IFJ represents over 500,000 journalists in more than 110 countries