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21 May 2020

Narin Sun, VOA

Cambodia: Authorities arrest & charge another journalist & local radio station owner with incitement as media crackdown continues during COVID-19 crisis

"Kampong Chhnang Radio Owner Charged for “Incitement”", 15 May 2020

The Kampong Chhnang Provincial Court has charged and sent radio owner Sok Oudom to pre-trial detention …, days after the Ministry of Information revoked the station’s media license for “exaggerated news reporting.”

Chhuon Sivin, a Kampong Chhnang Provincial Court spokesperson, confirmed that Sok Oudom had been charged and sent to pre-trial detention. The spokesperson added that Sok Oudom was guilty of “inciting villagers to grab military and state land for private ownership,” but provided no other details about the case…

Long Sitha, the prosecutor in the case, said that the radio station owner was charged under Article 495 of the Criminal Code, again refusing to divulge details of the alleged crime…

The Ministry of Information … revoked the media license for Rithysen Radio News Station on FM99.75 and the station’s website for allegedly “publishing information which is exaggerated information, contains incitement to violence, provocation to commit discrimination and provocation to cause social insecurity and chaos.”

… Sam Chankea, provincial coordinator for rights group ADHOC in Kampong Chhnang, said the incitement charge was frequently employed by the government to silence critics.

“People asked him to report their stories and he just broadcast the stories. It is his right and freedom,” Sam Chankea said…

Sok Oudom posted stories on the Facebook page named Rithysen Radio News Station, often covering topics such as land disputes and clashes between the people and police officials. He also commented on court cases in the provincial court and even highlighted a local land dispute allegedly involving police officials…