The Veal Veng district authority in Pursat province on Tuesday said two reporters from TNM online TV had been sent to the provincial police station for “incitement and broadcasting disinformation”, while another TNM reporter in Mondulkiri province was sent to court for “public defamation”.
Veal Veng district police station deputy chief of staff Soley Mesa said the two TNM reporters were arrested in Thmor Da commune’s Sangkum Thmey village after the MDS Company owned by prominent tycoon Try Pheap lodged a complaint.
He said police are deciding whether to send Min Phon, 39, from Kampong Speu province’s Samrong Tong district, and Sarak Dara, 38, from the capital’s Mean Chey district, to court.
TNM editor Men Socheata said the reporters had not committed the alleged offence. He said they wrote their reports based on the situation on the ground and according to the accounts of people who had provided the tip-off and interviews.
“I request the authorities release them because they had collected information based on reports from people who had suffered from land disputes.
“Before the arrest, they had broadcast news about MDS Company excavating around 30 metres of a rice field. The authority had not solved the dispute, so they reported the incident to us,” he said.
Pursat provincial court spokesman Heng Donin said on Wednesday that he had not received information on the two reporters’ arrest.
“I just heard from news media, but I haven’t seen them in court yet,” he said.
In a similar case on September 12, deputy Mondulkiri provincial court prosecutor Mam Vanda summonsed Khin Sokhorn, a TNM reporter based in the province, for questioning in relation to a defamation lawsuit filed by Keo Seima Wildlife Sanctuary office head Din Bunthoeun.
The complaint said that Sokhorn wrongly accused Bunthoeun of colluding with traders to log and haul luxury timber in the Keo Seima protected area.
Vanda said the accused journalist had been temporarily released pending further investigation.