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5 May 2021

Hul Reaksmey, VOA Khmer

Cambodia: 45 CSOs highlight attacks and harassment against journalists and call on the govt. to properly investigate harmful acts & crimes against journalists

"Government Failing to Investigate Violence Against Journalists, Rights Groups Say", 5 May 2021

The Cambodian government must investigate and punish perpetrators of crimes and violence against journalists, civil society groups said after releasing a statement to mark World Press Freedom Day ...

The statement, which included 45 rights groups and community organizations, highlighted how at least 22 journalists were either attacked or threatened with violence while in the field in 2020. One journalist died in an alleged traffic accident without a proper investigation.

It added that at least 72 journalists were “harassed” by the judiciary, and 42 of them were detained, questioned, or imprisoned…

The groups said this was seen in the cases of Sok Oudom, the owner of Rithysen radio station in Kampong Chhnang province, and Ros Sokhet, a journalist and publisher of the Khmer Nation newspaper…

“We are, therefore, deeply concerned about the continued deterioration of the media environment in Cambodia and urge the Royal Government of Cambodia (“RGC”) to cease the ongoing harassment of independent media outlets and journalists for exercising their fundamental right to freedom of expression, to end the rampant impunity against attacked and murdered journalists,” the statement reads.

… Chak Sopheap, director of Cambodian Center for Human Rights, said on Tuesday that the culture of impunity for people who attacked journalists or murdered them must end.

“But on the contrary, if it’s not like that, then the journalist will be perceived that when something happens to them, they will not get justice, and then the perpetrators are not punished by the law, so it will create an atmosphere of fear for the journalists who perform their duties,” she said…