The Banteay Meanchey provincial court has summoned two journalists who own news websites in regard to defamation charges.
Publisher of New Day Media Teav Sam Ol told The Post on Monday that on March 5, he received a summons to appear before the court on Wednesday. He said he was being accused of defamation after he wrote an article on a land dispute in Poipet town.
The summons did not bear the name of the plaintiff.
He said the land dispute involved the residents of Poipet commune and Oknha Lach Bunlim.
“I disseminated the information, but I didn’t reveal any names. I would like to request help from the top levels of government. Please enforce the Press Law,” he said.
Ly Meng Huy, who owns the website Mochas Ka, said he was also summoned even though he didn’t report on the case. He said all he did was disseminate information about Sam Ol’s summoning.
“I didn’t write any story about the tycoon encroaching on the land. I don’t know anything about this, and I am not pointing fingers at anyone.
“I don’t know who issued the complaint. This complaint aims to discourage journalists and violate the Press Law.
“Journalists should not be summoned because of what they report on. Also, Samdech Techo recently said that journalists should not have to face the law because of what they are reporting,” he said.
Provincial court spokesman Roeun Lina said he wasn’t aware of the summonses.
Moeun Chhean Nariddh, a media professor, said that in a democratic society, journalists should not be sent to court for reporting inaccurately. Instead, they should be allowed to issue a correction.
“Before summoning the journalists, the judge should have investigated the case to see if what the journalist said was true. If he gave true information, he should have nothing to fear,” he said.