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MEDIA FREEDOM:Press blasts lawsuit filed in Siem Reap

Media freedom

The Press Council of Cambodia has accused law enforcement officials in Siem Reap province of pursuing “increasingly inappropriate lawsuits”, following the filing of disinformation and defamation charges against a reporter who wrote a story accusing police of accepting bribes from an illegal gambling den. Sok Sovan, the council’s president, said he had sent a letter Thursday to Interior Minister Sar Kheng requesting intervention in the case against Bun Ratha, a reporter for daily newspaper Kampuchea Thmey, who was charged at Siem Reap provincial court on May 26. “We need the Ministry of Interior to monitor its law enforcement [officials] at the provincial level, where there have been increasingly inappropriate lawsuits filed by local authorities to silence journalists who closely monitor the work of police,” he said. But Chhuon Chhean, police chief of Kean Sangke commune in Siem Reap’s Sotr Nikum district, said Bun Ratha had unfairly accused him of accepting bribes of 100,000 riels (US$24). “It is not true; therefore, my boss had to file a complaint for disinformation,” he said.

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