Cambodia: Journalist summoned for reporting land dispute

Phal Dam, a journalist with local television TV3 based in Ratanakkiri province, northeast Cambodia, was summoned to appear in court on Monday, June 15 following his story on a land dispute over an abandoned Ratanakkiri airport site. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) regrets the summon and urges all sides to respect press freedom.

The provincial court had summoned Dam after the Put Dany, the Deputy Governor pf Banlung town, the capital city of Ratanakkiri province, filed a complaint against the journalist. Dam was alleged to have engaged in ‘incitement to commit a felony’ in his story on land clearing at an abandoned of Ratanakkiri airport site.

Dam had witnessed the clearing of land belonging to the airport. He interviewed residents and also attempted to contact Banlung city and Ratanakkiri provincial officials, who did not respond to his questions. When Dam’s report was aired two weeks ago, he had not received any complaints or corrections from the authorities.

Dam has applied for an extension to appear before court and said that reason for the summons was unclear. The journalist has been unable to afford a lawyer and will request the Information Ministry to provide him one. He will also ask the court to delay his questioning.

The IFJ said: Disputes over coverage published in the media should be resolved by journalists exercising their rights to correct articles or a right of reply, if there is a basis to the complaints. IFJ urges the authorities to withdraw the summon and respect journalists’ rights and due process.”

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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