The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), the global organisation representing over 500,000 journalists in more than 110 countries, has sent a letter to King Sihanouk of Cambodia demanding an end to the violence and unlawful arrests of journalists in Cambodia.
“This repeated violence against journalists is shocking and must be stopped immediately. We ask the Cambodian Government to respect the right of its citizens to free speech and freedom of expression without fear of violence or arrest,” said IFJ president Christopher Warren.
Rong Chhun, a member of the Cambodia Watchdog Council, and Beehive Radio director Mam Sonando are both being held in Peysar prison after police arrested them for defamation earlier this month.
“The IFJ adds its support to more than 50 other Non Government Organisations that have called on the Cambodian Government to release Mr. Sonando and Mr. Chhun. We ask the government not only to free these men, but also to put an end to the growing culture of fear among journalists in Cambodia,” said Warren.
Charges have also been brought against other members of the Cambodia Watchdog Council, after the council issued a statement criticising a recent border agreement with Vietnam.
The IFJ has also voiced its concerns about military violence, after two Cambodian journalists were brutally attacked by military officers last month.
Radio Free Asia journalist Ratha Visal and Nhen Soka, a reporter for the daily Kampuchea Thmei newspaper, were both attacked after writing stories on illegal logging in northern Cambodia.
On September 29, a military vehicle intentionally hit Visal, injuring his leg. On September 5, Soka was beaten in the face, neck and chest. Both men were also threatened with guns.
The IFJ believes Cambodian authorities are attempting to silence independent media in Cambodia through violence and imprisonment. The IFJ calls on King Sihanouk to use his power to stop these unacceptable attacks on press freedom immediately.
For more information visit http://www.ifj-asia.org/page/cambodia051021.html
For further information contact Christopher Warren on +61 (0) 411 757 668
The IFJ represents over 500,000 journalists in more than 110 countries