Search

Search form

Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Another journalist targeted over illegal logging

Another journalist targeted over illegal logging

Another journalist targeted over illegal logging

120927_03

Ek Sokunthy (C), a 42-year-old journalist for the Ta Prum weekly newspaper in Ratanakkiri province, recovers after being attacked and beaten on Tuesday, Sept. 25, at his home. Photograph supplied

Ek Sokunthy (C), a 42-year-old journalist for the Ta Prum weekly newspaper in Ratanakkiri province, recovers after being attacked and beaten on Tuesday, Sept. 25, at his home. Photograph supplied

Three men, including a disgraced former police officer, have been accused of savagely beating a journalist in what is believed to be the third instance this month of intimidation against reporters exposing illegal logging in Ratanakkiri.

Ek Sokunthy, 42, a journalist for Ta Prum weekly newspaper, told the Post yesterday that he was beaten on the head and body with a pistol and wooden stick in Andong Meas district’s Malik commune. His wife, who had recently given birth to their first child, was pushed to the floor during the attack, which took place Tuesday.

Major Kim Vanna, of Ratanakkiri provincial of military police, said the alleged perpetrators, former Andong Meas police officer Nget Senghorn, and local residents Puth Hoeurn and “Thy”, have fled the area. The search for the suspects continues.

“They are illegal loggers, but I have never written of their case,” said Sokunthy. “I didn’t know the reason why they beat me because I always wrote stories favourable to authorities and am fearful now.”

Talav commune police chief Kim Savong said Senghorn is a former police officer who was expelled due to disciplinary issues.

While Sokunthy denied by phone to the Post yesterday any conflict over his reporting, or coverage beyond “positive provincial developments”, his editor at Ta Prum weekly said he published a story on illegal logging activity last month.

“After the death of the journalist [in Ratanakkiri], he also received a death threat from officials telling him to be careful,” said Phum Chesda. “They said, ‘Did you hear about the death? Do you want to follow? Do you want to continue your career here?’”

Sokunthy had received up to three death threats from Andong Meas district police and military police regarding his coverage of logging, Chesda said.

According to Chhay Thi of human rights group Adhoc, this is the third instance of intimidation against journalists involved in logging issues in Ratanakkiri province this month.

The first occurred in O’Yadav district when a group of journalists photographing illegal timber storage had their motorcycles damaged.

The second, and most severe, is the gruesome case of Hang Serei Oudom, who was found in the trunk of his car this month bludgeoned to death by an axe.

To contact the reporter on this story: Chhay Channyda at [email protected]

RECOMMENDED STORIES

  • Breaking: PM says prominent human rights NGO ‘must close’

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has instructed the Interior Ministry to investigate the Cambodian Center for Human Rights (CCHR) and potentially close it “because they follow foreigners”, appearing to link the rights group to the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party's purported “revolution”. The CNRP - the

  • Rainsy and Sokha ‘would already be dead’: PM

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Sunday appeared to suggest he would have assassinated opposition leaders Sam Rainsy and Kem Sokha had he known they were promising to “organise a new government” in the aftermath of the disputed 2013 national elections. In a clip from his speech

  • Massive ceremony at Angkor Wat will show ‘Cambodia not in anarchy’: PM

    Government officials, thousands of monks and Prime Minister Hun Sen himself will hold a massive prayer ceremony at Angkor Wat in early December to highlight the Kingdom’s continuing “peace, independence and political stability”, a spectacle observers said was designed to disguise the deterioration of

  • PM tells workers CNRP is to blame for any sanctions

    In a speech to workers yesterday, Prime Minister Hun Sen pinned the blame for any damage inflicted on Cambodia’s garment industry by potential economic sanctions squarely on the opposition party. “You must remember clearly that if the purchase orders are reduced, it is all