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13 May 2021

Khuon Narim, CamboJA

Cambodia: Authorities harass journalists while they are reporting land disputes in two separate incidents; journalists are concerned about their safety

"Two journalists report harassment by authorities during coverage of separate land disputes", 13 May 2021

Two digital news journalists reported harassment by authorities … while covering villagers protesting two separate land disputes.

Though government officials dismissed the confrontations with reporters from outlets VOD and TN Hot News as a matter of enforcing public order, media advocates are again sounding the alarm of ever-tightening restrictions of press freedom in Cambodia.

VOD reporter Khut Sokun, 33, said he had arrived … at the scene of a dispute in the Krakor district of Pursat province when an armed man in military uniform approached and seized his smartphone, recorder and notebook.

“I parked my motorbike and rushed to report,” Sokun told CamboJA of the day’s work in Ansar Chambak commune. “I turned on my recorder, and wrote what they were saying, but after that one official came to ask my identity, and where I had come from.”…

“I told him that I am a reporter at VOD, and I came to report something related to land issues, and he asked me to delete the pictures I’d taken from my smartphone,” Sokun recalled. “A man with a RCAF uniform and an AK-47 confiscated my recorder and notebook. They also tore up my notes of what I wrote and [deleted] audio from the recorder.”

... Keo Ratana, 36, journalist and publisher of TN TV, or TN Hot News Online, said that he suffered harassment while covering villagers protesting that same day against a decision of the Kampong Chhnang Provincial Court in favor of a wealthier landholder…