The Committee to Protect Journalists, an international press freedom group, has weighed in on the confiscation of tape recorders used by local journalists last week by the government’s Anticorruption Unit.
Following a press conference last week, ACU head Om Yentieng was asked by a reporter from the Cambodia Daily newspaper about a shelved United States Federal Bureau of Investigation inquiry into the deadly 1997 grenade attack on an opposition rally that left 16 dead and over 100 wounded. The Daily has published several articles about recently obtained FBI files relating to the incident that suggest government involvement.
Om Yentieng warned the reporter not to “put me into your trap” and ordered an ACU staffer to confiscate tape recorders from the journalists present.
“Despite its legal commitments to uphold press freedom, Prime Minister Hun Sen’s government continues to use strong-arm tactics against the media,” Shawn Crispin, CPJ’s senior Southeast Asia representative, said in a statement. “We call on Cambodian authorities to stop harassing the media and immediately return the tapes and recording equipment illegally taken from reporters.”