Cambodia: Authorities confiscate journalists’ press card and materials

Authorities from the Meanchey district in the south-eastern part of Cambodia’s capital, Phnom Penh, confiscated An Vichet, a freelance journalists’ press card, and forced Voice of America (VOA) reporter Lors Lib Lib to delete pictures and videos of the police demolishing a house. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and its affiliate, the Cambodian Journalists Alliance Association (CamboJA), condemn authorities intervening with independent journalism.

On August 13, An Vichet and Lors Lib Lib reported on the land dispute between authorities and residents in Meanchey district, capturing authorities demolishing resident’s property. According to IFJ’s affiliate CamboJA, police threatened to arrest An Vichet if he did not delete the images despite Vinchet presenting his press card. Authorities also confiscated Vinchet’s press card and refused to explain why the press card was confiscated or return the card.

Lors Lib Lib, an intern for VOA, also had his phone taken by Meanchey district authorities and was forced to delete his footage of authorities destroying the property. 

Phom Penh deputy governor Keut Chhe responded to the incident and said authorities acted correctly and legally.

Npp Vy, the Executive Director of CamboJA, said: The use of any forms of restrictions is a violation of the press law and the Constitution—that is unacceptable. We call on the authorities to immediately stop the acts of harassment, intimidation and threats against journalists, and instead, cooperate and pay respect to the role performance of journalists in order to prove that the government truly pays attention to and respects the rights of citizens, especially the right to information.”

The IFJ said: Authorities in Cambodia must acknowledge and respect the role of journalists to act independently and ensure the free flow of information. The actions of Meanchey district authorities, harassing and intimidating the two journalists’ conflict with the principles of press freedom. The IFJ urge authorities to end the harassment of journalists in Cambodia.”

For further information contact IFJ Asia - Pacific on ifj@ifj-asia.org

The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 140 countries

Twitter: @ifjasiapacific, on Facebook: IFJAsiaPacific and Instagram