Search form

Login - Register | FOLLOW US ON

Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - UNTAC code, not '95 Press Law, used to prosecute publisher

UNTAC code, not '95 Press Law, used to prosecute publisher

Hang Chakra says use of UN criminal code, which allows for harsher penalties and possible jail time, is the ‘cruellest thing'

THE publisher of a Khmer-language newspaper is to appear in court Friday, charged with publishing false information after running a series of articles that examined corruption allegedly perpetrated by officials under deputy prime minister Sok An.

Hang Chakra, the publisher of Khmer Machas Srok News, said he felt the Phnom Penh Municipal Court was trying to fast-track his case in order to see him jailed as soon as possible.

He criticised the government for prosecuting him under the 1992 UNTAC criminal code rather than the 1995 Press Law, which carries less severe penalties.

"This is the cruellest thing that has happened to me," Hang Chakra said.

Hang Chakra told the Post he had learned of the case in a June 12 letter from court prosecutor Sok Roeun. In the letter, Sok Roeun informed him that he was accused of "publishing false information" and that he would be tried "according to Article 62 of the UNTAC criminal law".  

Chong Cho Ngy, Hang Chakra's lawyer, said he would ask that the court try his client under the Press Law, since the alleged offence relates to a media issue.

Criminal or civil charge?

Under the Press Law, publishing false information is a criminal offence that carries a fine of up to 5 million riels (US$1,250). But the UNTAC criminal code contains much harsher punishments, with offenders facing a prison term of between six months and three years, and a fine of up to 10 million riels.

"The Press Law has existed since 1995, so I don't believe the court should use this outdated law," said Sam Rithy Doung Hak, the deputy director of the Cambodian Association for the Protection of Journalists, adding that the government ought to withdraw the complaint against Hang Chakra in the interests of seeing democracy move forward.

However, government lawyer Suong Chanthan said he would not withdraw the complaint. "The decision depends on the court," he said.

0

Comments

Please, login or register to post a comment

Latest Video

Phnom Penh eats: Homegrown veggies at Bayon Beoung Snor

​Nestled along National Road 1, Bayon Beoung Snor is a farm-cum-restaurant. The team grows their own vegetables, which they then use to whip up traditional Khmer food.

Bill Clough reflects on The Phnom Penh Post's 25 year history

The Post's publisher Bill Clough, under whose leadership the publication went from a fortnightly to a daily one, discusses his investment in Cambodia, his vision for the paper in an increasingly digital age,

People search for their names on the voter lists at a polling station in Kampong Cham’s Veal Vong commune earlier this month.

Four years ago, when the opposition snatched Kampong Cham away from the ruling party in 2013 national elections, it hinted at a deeper shift taking

Comfrel Executive Director Koul Panha speaks to the press at a meeting yesterday in Phnom Penh.

As the National Election Committee launched into the recount proc