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Preah Vihear ‘publisher’ pinched over blackmail

A journalist stands with authorities yesterday after he was charged with extortion in Preah Vihear. Photo supplied
A journalist stands with authorities yesterday after he was charged with extortion in Preah Vihear. Photo supplied

Preah Vihear ‘publisher’ pinched over blackmail

A man claiming to be a newspaper publisher was arrested in Preah Vihear’s Kulen district on Monday for allegedly blackmailing a victim for an unknown sum.

Prak Sokun ostensibly heads the Kampuchea Men newspaper, but Ly Chiv Leng, the district police chief, said that officials had never seen a copy of the paper in circulation. Sokun became the subject of an arrest warrant after a victim filed a police complaint.

Lor Chan, a coordinator for rights group Adhoc in Preah Vihear, said that journalists sometimes extort money from potential lawbreakers by threatening to expose them in the press.

“They demand the money from loggers or businesspeople who do not want to see their problem in the newspaper,” said Chan.

While marking International Free Press Day on May 3, Information Minister Khieu Kanharith warned journalists “in name only” to obey professional ethical standards.

Chhay Sophal, director of the Club of Cambodian Journalists, said 19 reporters had been officially accused of extortion in the past 12 months.

Contact details for Kampuchea Men were not readily available yesterday.

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