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Cambodia: Kampong Chhnang Provincial Court convict a journalist of incitement charges following his report on a land conflict between villagers & military officials

"Provincial journalist convicted for reporting military-linked land dispute", 22 December 2020

A Kampong Chhnang court convicted and sentenced a radio station owner to 20 months in prison … for reporting about a land conflict between villagers and military officials in the province.

Sok Oudom, who ran Rithysen Radio Station, was convicted … by the Kampong Chhnang Provincial, …, and ordered to pay a 20 million riel, or around $5,000, fine for inciting villagers through his reportage of the land dispute.

Oudom was arrested … and charged with incitement for a Facebook livestream where he talked about villagers’ land being grabbed by a military social land concession in Phnom Oral Wildlife Sanctuary. The dispute involved senior military official Nou Samreth, who did not present himself at the trial…

Un Chanthol, Oudom’s defense lawyer, said that he would discuss the possibility of filing an appeal with a higher court.

“[The verdict] is the discretion of a judge, but if we can’t accept it then we can appeal to a higher court,” he said.

… Nut Sovanthou, Oudom’s wife, said the verdict was unfair and that there was no evidence to show that Oudom had incited the villagers. She said her husband routinely reported about land disputes in the province and felt that senior officials, like Nou Samreth, were displeased with his stories…

Him Khortieth, research and advocacy manager at CamboJA, said that it was unusual for the court to only convict Oudom, when there were around 10 other journalists reporting the same issue…

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