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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - SReap police accuse journalist of defamation

SReap police accuse journalist of defamation

Siem Reap Province
A LOCAL journalist appeared for questioning in Siem Reap provincial court on Thursday, following a complaint filed by Siem Reap’s land traffic police accusing him of disinformation and defamation, a court official said Thursday.

Deputy prosecutor Sok Keo Bandith said that Sim Samnang, a 31-year-old reporter for Khmer-language newspaper Koh Santepheap, was questioned over an article he wrote in mid-February, in which he quoted witnesses who said traffic police had fired a gun to intimidate a driver who had argued with officers after being pulled over for not wearing a seatbelt in Siem Reap town.

“We can not assume the outcome of the case yet because this is the preliminary investigation,”Sok Keo Bandith said. “I will question a representative of the land traffic police next week.”

Sim Samnang told the Post that he was surprised police had filed a complaint against him because he had reported the story accurately and fairly and had published a second article airing police dissatisfaction with the story, six days after the original article.

“I don’t understand why they filed a complaint against me because I wrote another article that included the police denial of the accusations,” he said, adding that Koh Santepheap had also published a letter written by Thang Sokun, the director of traffic police in Siem Reap.

“I wrote an article saying land traffic police shot a gun one time to threaten [the driver] and acted cruelly and without compassion,” Sim Samnang said, adding that he had not named any police officers in his original article and was not sure exactly who had filed the complaint against him.

Sim Samnang described the complaint as an example of “intimidation” of the press.

Thang Sokun, head of Siem Reap provincial land traffic police, hung up the phone when called for comment about the case Thursday.

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