Cambodia: Newspaper publisher arrested following criticisms of prime minister

Ros Sokhet, a publisher for the Khmer Nation newspaper was arrested on June 25 for criticising prime minister Hun Sen on Facebook. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) condemns the arrest and calls on police to drop the case.

Ros Sokhet Credit: Facebook

Sokhet criticised Hun Sen on June 24 after the prime minister confirmed he was grooming his eldest son Hun Manet to take over as Cambodia’s leader. Sokhet’s Facebook posts alleged Hun Sen was also not offering a solution for people struggling to repay their debts to banks. The Phnom Penh Municipal Court issued a warrant for Sokhet’s arrest and questioning on June 24 “for incitement to provoke serious chaos in social security,” arresting him the following day.

The spokesman for Information Ministry Meas Sophorn added the ministry is undergoing a review of Khmer Nation’s newspaper license, that was renewed by Sokhet on April 2, 2020. Last month, the Information Ministry revoked the media license of another journalist, Sok Udom, who was later detained for his coverage of a land dispute.

The IFJ said: “The arrest and charges against Sokhet conveys the government’s disdain towards the rights and safety of journalists. The IFJ urges the Cambodian government to enhance protections for journalists to prevent authorities from using the law to censor the press.”

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