Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Dispute reporter not charged

Dispute reporter not charged

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Sok Oddom, director of Rithy Sen radio station, who was accused of ‘incitement and public defamation’ for reporting on a land dispute protest in April, was released on Tuesday. FACEBOOK

Dispute reporter not charged

The director of a radio station accused of “incitement and public defamation” for reporting on a land dispute protest in April was released from the Kampong Chhnang provincial court without charge on Tuesday.

“The court released me to get documents to see the lawsuit dropped. I will be summoned to return next month. My lawyer and I will compile the necessary documentation,” Sok Oddom said after two hours of questioning by the deputy court prosecutor on Tuesday.

Oddom, the director of Rithy Sen radio station, was summoned to appear in court on April 3 for questioning after a complaint was filed by Lun Lorn, a supervisor at a company owned by local tycoon Sok Bun.

Oddom told The Post on Tuesday that he had personally covered the protest and recorded live video footage. He said villagers had told him that Bun’s private company had grabbed land belonging to 30 families and cleared 2,000ha of flooded forest belonging to the state.

“Oknha Sok Bun’s company is trying to rob people of their land without giving them suitable compensation,” Oddom reported at the time.

Lorn filed a complaint with the court following Oddom’s reporting of the protest on April 1 at Svay Chrum district’s Rolea Ba’ier commune in Kampong Chhnang province.

Provincial court spokesman Chhuon Sivin told The Post on Tuesday that provincial deputy prosecutor Long Sitha had questioned Oddom over the accusation that he had incited villagers to confront the company and had publicly defamed it.

Choeung Vannak, deputy director of the Kampong Chhnang provincial Information Department, said he had followed the case in court and found there had been no threats of arrest or intimidation made against Sok Oddom. After questioning, the court allowed him to go home.

“He is being sued for his reporting about the land dispute in Rolea Ba’ier district. The court only questioned him and there is nothing he should be worried about,” Vannak said.

Local media reported that Lorn had filed a complaint demanding $50,000 in compensation or the arrest of Oddom and a public apology.

Contact details for Lorn could not be found for comment.

Sam Chankea, Kampong Chhnang and Pursat provincial coordinator for rights group Adhoc, told The Post on Tuesday that the court action was a violation of professional journalistic practice.

“Before filing a complaint with the court, the plaintiff should have asked the radio station for a correction. If he still considered the reports inaccurate, he should have explained his side of events.

“He should not have sued a journalist at the provincial court because he was only reporting the news,” Chankea said.

Villagers in Svay Chrum commune are locked in a land dispute with the local land dispute committee addressing the issue, he added.


  • PM to vet NY holiday dates

    The Ministry of Economy and Finance submitted a letter to Prime Minister Hun Sen asking him to formally set a five-day national holiday from August 17-21 to make up for the Khmer New Year holiday in April that was postponed. Finance minister Aun Pornmoniroth sent

  • Cambodia rejects UN rights claim

    Cambodia's Permanent Mission to the UN Office in Geneva on Friday hit back at David Kaye, the UN special rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of the Right to Freedom of Opinion and Expression after he raised concerns over the repression of free speech and

  • Snaring may spawn diseases

    The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) has warned that snaring of animals has become a crisis that poses a serious risk to wildlife in Southeast Asia and could spawn the transmission of zoonotic diseases to humans. Its July 9 report entitled Silence of the Snares: Southeast Asia’

  • Ex-party leader, gov’t critic named as secretary of state

    A former political party leader known for being critical of the government has been appointed secretary of state at the Ministry of Rural Development, a royal decree dated July 9 said. Sourn Serey Ratha, the former president of the Khmer Power Party (KPP), told The Post

  • Residence cards set for over 80,000 immigrants

    The Ministry of Interior plans to grant residence cards to more than 80,000 immigrants to better keep track of them. The ministry announced the plan on July 10, following the results of an immigration census. “An inter-ministerial committee and many operational working groups have been set up

  • Kingdom produces PPE gear

    Medical supplies from Cambodia have been donated to member countries of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to assist in the fight against Covid-19, said an ADB report published on July 9. The report stated that the supplies were donated as a response to global efforts to

  • Kingdom, US vow stronger ties

    At an academic forum on Saturday to celebrate 70 years of Cambodia-US diplomatic ties, Cambodian researchers and officials expressed hope of encouraging US investments and for that country to deepen and improve its bilateral relations. Held at the Royal Academy of Cambodia, it reviewed the past 70

  • Fifteen Cambodians from Saudi get Covid-19

    The Ministry of Health on Sunday confirmed 15 more imported cases of Covid. The 15 men ‒ all Cambodian aged 21 to 33 ‒ arrived from Saudi Arabia on Friday via a connecting flight in Malaysia. They were travelling with 79 other passengers, three of them women. The ministry said 80 of the

  • Ministry requests school opening

    The Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport on Thursday said it would request a decision from Prime Minister Hun Sen to allow a small number of schools to reopen next month. Ministry spokesman Ros Soveacha said if the request is granted, higher-standard schools will reopen

  • Kingdom eyes India FTA, China deal set for August

    Cambodia is studying the possibility of establishing a bilateral free trade agreement (FTA) with India to open a new market with the second-largest regional economy. This comes as an FTA with China is scheduled to be signed next month while similar negotiations with South Korea