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Reporter has court date in disinformation case

A reporter for newspaper Koh Santepheap in Oddar Meanchey province will appear at the provincial court for questioning tomorrow in connection with a disinformation complaint he says was filed by a district deputy police chief.

The official in question has denied filing the complaint.

Reporter Om Sareoun told the Post yesterday that he had been summonsed to appear in court over a January 17 article that states that a man’s parents had filed a complaint with the Interior Ministry accusing Anlong Veng district deputy police chief Kae Samneng of detaining their son without cause.

Om Sareoun said that after people began fighting at a wedding last November, district police officials arrested the groom, later forcing him to thumbprint a document stating he had caused the violence, and detaining him in the provincial prison.

The groom was later released, but the groom’s parents told Om Sareoun that Kae Samneng had earlier asked them to pay him US$5,000 in exchange for their son’s release, the reporter said.

“It is [Kae Samneng’s] right to complain, but I wrote it based on a complaint document that the groom’s parents filed to the Interior Ministry, and I also interviewed the plaintiff,” he said. “I had enough sources for my article.”

Kae Samneng denied he filed a complaint against Om Sareoun.

“I am not aware who filed the complaint against him,” he said. “Om Sareoun always writes something bad to accuse police officials.”

Hern Sophat, the groom’s uncle, said the family filed a complaint to the Interior Ministry against Kae Samneng and other officials.

“[Kae Samneng] demanded $5,000 and then $3,000 for the release of my nephew, but we … don’t have that much money,” he said.

“That’s why Kae Samneng sent my nephew to the court and detained him.”

The Club of Cambodian Journalists released a statement on Monday saying Om Sareoun’s article was “professional” and should not have provoked accusations of disinformation.

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