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Fired reporters to get payment from RFA

Phnom Penh Municipal Court yesterday ordered Radio Free Asia to pay collective indemnity to two broadcast reporters who were fired without notice last year.

Presiding judge Oeung Sien ordered RFA to pay US$44,946 to former reporter Ath Bony, who had worked for the media organisation for 12 years prior to his termination. Thai Sophea, who was fired after serving four years at RFA, was awarded US$12,482.

The payments took into account unpaid annual leave, future earnings, court costs and damages.

Sum Chamrong, a lawyer representing both complainants, said his clients were happy with the verdict.

“We applaud the court’s verdict, which is acceptable and right and in accordance with the labour law,” he said. “The court’s decision has followed the Arbitration Council’s decisions and those made by lower labour departments.”

He said he hoped the RFA “would follow the court’s conviction and voluntarily pay all indemnity money to the two reporters”.

Ath Bony said the decision provided justice for him and Thai Sophea.

“The decision will ensure  all public enterprises and private companies ... to follow the labour law,” he said.

Hem Hounarith, a lawyer representing RFA, said he “was not happy” with the verdict, because he lost.

“But it is normal for the judicial court to have winners and losers,” he said.

“I will give time to my client to decide whether or not to appeal the verdict.”

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