Journalist Sanctioned for Reporting on Provincial Land Issues in Cambodia

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) condemns a Cambodian provincial governor’s intimidation of Ratha Visal, a journalist for Radio Free Asia (RFA), for his reports about illegal logging and sale of public land.

According to IFJ affiliate, the Cambodian Association for the Protection of Journalists (CAPJ), the governor of Ratanakirri province, Moung Poy, insulted and threatened the reporter and another non-governmental organisation human rights activist for reporting on land disputes among hill tribe people in the Oyadav district.

“These actions are an unacceptable threat to the open discussion of issues of critical importance to the Cambodian people,” IFJ President Christopher Warren said.

“This is a clear attack on freedom of expression, and the IFJ demands that the governor and provincial officials cease their threats towards Visal and all involved in the struggle to broadcast stories on these crucial issues,” Warren said.

Reports from CAPJ said the reporter and the rights activist were invited to attend a meeting at the provincial office on November 30 to talk about a land dispute with villagers from Oyadav district.

However according to local reports, Visal said he was only asked to the meeting to be warned against covering the disputes.

An RFA report on December 1 said officials are unhappy with reports made by RFA about events in the province and are seeking control of information before broadcast.

According to CAPJ, Cambodian Press Law's Article Three states that pre-publication censorship shall be prohibited, and upholds the independence of the press.

The IFJ, the global organisation representing more than 500,000 journalists worldwide, reiterates its condemnation of the threats made by Cambodian officials to local journalists and urges all public officials to respect the Cambodian Press Law and put an end to the intimidation of journalists.

For further information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific +61 2 9333 0919

The IFJ represents over 500,000 journalists in more than 115 countries

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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