Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Authors of report on dolphins will not face charges, official says

Authors of report on dolphins will not face charges, official says

Authors of report on dolphins will not face charges, official says

Chief of Cambodia's Commision to Conserve Mekong River Dolphins had earlier said group could be charged for report that was 'all lies'.

A GOVERNMENT official said Wednesday he had decided to forgive the conservation group WWF for publishing what he has described as a false report on the Mekong River Irrawaddy dolphin population, backing off earlier threats to pursue false-information charges but adding that future reports would require advanced discussion before publication.

Touch Seang Tana, chairman of Cambodia's Commission to Conserve Mekong River Dolphins and Develop Eco-Tourism, said Wednesday that he reached his decision after consulting with Nao Thouk, director of the Fisheries Administration at the Ministry of Agriculture.

The report, released last month, said that environmental contaminants in the Mekong River had contributed to the deaths of 88 Irrawaddy dolphins since 2003, some 60 percent of which had been calves under two weeks old that succumbed to a bacterial disease.

Touch Seang Tana immediately lashed out at the report, calling it "all lies" and suggesting that WWF was reluctant to discuss its findings with officials.

He said Wednesday that documents sent last week to his office by WWF did not sufficiently explain the findings in the report, which he said his office had "rejected".

Nevertheless, he said he would not go forward with false-information charges, nor would he make any attempt to prevent WWF from continuing its work in Cambodia.

"I will make an effort to coordinate to have WWF to continue working in Cambodia," he said. "But in the future we will not allow them to publicise reports without prior discussion with us."

WWF voices relief
WWF Country Director Teak Seng said Wednesday that the government's decision was a good one, adding that it could ultimately help efforts to conserve the dolphins.

"This is a positive response," he said. "It is a good sign in working together to conserve dolphins."

MOST VIEWED

  • Phnom Penh authorities ban march for Human Rights Day

    Phnom Penh authorities have banned a planned march as local NGOs and workers’ unions gear up to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the signing of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights on Monday, with a youth group leader saying they would march nonetheless. The UN

  • Phnom Penh’s Jet’s Container Night Market shuts down

    The famous Jet’s Container Night Market in central Phnom Penh has shut down due to the high cost of the land rental, company representatives claim. Jet’s Container Night Market is the largest such market in Phnom Penh. It operated for just over two

  • Hun Sen rejects ‘rift’ rumours spread by ‘stupid gangsters’

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Wednesday denied a “rift” among top leaders of the Cambodian People’s Party (CPP), and rejected claims that Senate president Say Chhum and Interior Minister Sar Kheng were set to be removed from their positions as rumours spread by “gangsters”.

  • EU ambassador to Cambodia: Rights a ‘work in progress’

    The EU ambassador to Cambodia has called human rights “a work in progress” and said the 28-nation bloc has “carefully” noted last week’s statement by the government on taking further steps to strengthen democracy and the political sphere in the Kingdom. The EU marked