Officials say suspect was chasing a truckload of illegally felled trees when he hit a motorbike.
A JOURNALIST chasing a truck he believed was loaded down with illegally felled logs crashed into a motorbike Monday night in Siem Reap province, killing the driver and one passenger, police said.
Min Chantha, police chief of Prasat Bakong district, said his officers were still trying to identify and locate the journalist, but witnesses said they believed he worked for the newspaper Khmer Amatak.
Bun Tha, editor-in-chief of the tri-weekly paper, identified the journalist involved in the accident only as Bora.
Min Chantha said he would send the case to provincial court Tuesday.
“When the crash happened, the two people on the motorbike died immediately, and the truck loaded with the logs was allowed to escape,” he said.
He added that witnesses claimed the journalist removed the licence plate from his car before fleeing the scene.
Moeun Chhean Nariddh, director of the Cambodian Institute for Media Studies, said the accusations against the journalist were serious.
“Journalists need to think about the value of the story they are chasing,” he said.
“They are trying to get information to readers, but if they also cause people to die, which is more important? They can find other ways to get the information, such as trying to get it from NGOs.”
He added: “No story is worth your life, and no story is worth another person’s life.”
On the other hand, he said, journalists would not need to pursue such reckless reporting tactics if officials were more forthcoming.
“I accept that some journalists make mistakes, but some mistakes happen because of the authorities, too. They are trying to hide information, and so journalists try to find other ways to get it themselves,” he said.
Nou Puthyk, provincial coordinator for the rights group Licadho, said his group had received a steady stream of reports about journalists attempting to extort money from people caught breaking the law, but that he could not comment on this particular case.