The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) is disturbed by the news that three journalists from the Voice of Peace Newspaper in Khampong Thom province were arrested on November 17.
According to IFJ associate, the Cambodian Association for the Protection of Journalists (CAPJ), the men were detained by police in Kampong Sva district for allegedly stealing USD1,050 from an unidentified man.
CAPJ has reported that the three were in fact taking pictures of the illegal rearing and fishing of snakehead fish in Tonle Sap lake.
Initially charged with robbery by the provincial court, journalists Thorng Channa, Lim Thau and Pen Rithy were released on bail the same day.
According to the CAPJ, illegal fishing and farming practices are prevalent around Tonle Sap and some farm owners have been known to bribe the authorities for protection from the law.
The IFJ views these arrests as an attempt to discourage investigative reporting on corruption surrounding illegal fishing practices.
“Journalists must be able to report without fear of harassment by the authorities,” said IFJ Asia-Pacific Director Jacqueline Park.
The IFJ joins the CAPJ in condemning these arrests as a deliberate attempt to prevent journalists from investigating stories involving corruption, and demands that the charges be dropped.
For more information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +61 2 9333 0919
The IFJ represents over 600,000 journalists in 115 countries