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Reporter charged with defamation

PHNOM Penh Municipal court charged a local magazine journalist with defamation on Thursday, on suspicion that he spread malicious rumours about well-known CTN anchor Soy Sopheap by text message and telephone.

Deputy prosecutor Sok Roeun told the court that Ros Sokhet, a journalist for the Southeast Asia Globe, defamed Soy Sopheap by using his telephone to spread corruption accusations against him on October 8 and October 28.

Ros Sokhet, who appeared at the hearing without a lawyer, told the court that he could settle the case out of court by appealing to Soy Sopheap personally.

“I don’t want to oppose Soy Sopheap. I think I can talk with [him]. I would like the court to inform Soy Sopheap about this,” he said, making an additional request for the court to delay his second hearing and release him on bail so that he could obtain defence counsel.

“If the judgement is just, I will accept it. If the court allows me to seek a lawyer, I would like the court to postpone the hearing first,” he said, adding that he would seek a public interest lawyer because he did not have the money to afford private counsel.

Phnom Penh Municipal Court Judge Chhay Kong rejected his requests and remanded him into custody until his second hearing on November 6.

Soy Sopheap could not be reached for comment on Thursday.

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