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Article

3 Nov 2020

Author:
Niem Chheng, The Phnom Penh Post

Cambodia: 57 local & international groups call on the govt. to cease silencing journalists & independent media

"NGOs: Stop oppressing journalists and limiting free speech", 2 November 2020

A joint statement released … by a group of 57 NGOs called for the government to stop silencing journalists and media outlets and release journalists who they believe were unfairly arrested.

In response, government officials said the statement did not take into consideration the legality of the situations and was published with a political agenda.

In the statement, the group alleged that the government had harassed independent media outlets and their journalists. They urged the government to immediately drop the ‘apparently politically motivated charges’ against the journalists and release them unconditionally.

The group also called on the government to repeal or amend laws that “unjustifiably impede media freedom and freedom of expression”…

The statement also called for the release of Sok Oudom, the owner of Rithysen radio station, and Rath Rott Mony, a fixer for Russian state news outlet RT.

… The NGOs said Cambodia did not respect the principles of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, .... The covenant stipulates that countries have an obligation to respect and protect freedom of opinion and expression without interference.

“Any restrictions to these rights must be justified through a strict test of legality, necessity and proportionality with respect to a legitimate aim…

Ministry of Justice spokesman Chin Malin said the joint statement was released by the same group that detested the government. They take any occasion to fight the government without a legal basis, he said…

Ministry of Information spokesperson Meas Sophorn said the ministry will issue a press release in response to the joint statement.

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