The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) joins its local
affiliate, the Cambodian Association for the Protection of Journalists (CAPJ)
in calling for the immediate repeal of a prison sentence against journalist
Hang Chakra, the publisher and editor-in-chief of Khmer Machas Srok, was sentenced to 12 months imprisonment and
fined 9 million Riels (approximately USD 2,250) on charges of ”disinformation”
and ”dishonouring” public officials on June 26, CAPJ reports.
The charges related to a series of articles published in Khmer Machas Srok which alleged the involvement of Cambodian
Deputy Prime Minister Sok An in corrupt activities.
Chakra was charged under an interim law that was instituted by the United
Nations Transitional Authority of Cambodia (UNTAC) set-up by a United Nationis
peacekeeping mission to Cambodia
in 1992-93 to improve the country’s democratic governance. For all intents and
purposes, this law has since been superseded by the 1995 Press Law.
to CAPJ, both laws characterise the distribution of false information as a
criminal, rather than civil, offence. However, the UNTAC criminal code
prescribes more severe punishment, including imprisonment and higher fines.
“The IFJ encourages all journalists to ensure the accuracy of their
information, though any legislation that imprisons journalists for their
professional work reflects a system of governance that is positively inimical
to press freedom and freedom of expression,” said IFJ
Asia-Pacific Director, Jacqueline Park.
Press Law is clearly the most relevant legislation to be used for any judicial
proceedings involving media personnel and their professional work. An
explanation for applying a more stringent criminal code in this case must be
The IFJ joins CAPJ in calling on the Cambodian Government to
uphold the formal processes laid down in the country’s Press Law as the
applicable legal instrument on media workers’ rights and responsibilities.
information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific
on +612 9333 0919
represents over 600,000 journalists in 120 countries worldwide