Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Press clubs denounce attack on journalists

Press clubs denounce attack on journalists

A police officer hits a man at a rally in Phnom Penh yesterday moments before a local journalist covering the event was attacked.
A police officer hits a man at a rally in Phnom Penh yesterday moments before a local journalist covering the event was attacked. HENG VITCHET

Press clubs denounce attack on journalists

Press freedom groups have condemned a violent attack on two reporters by security guards at a rally in Phnom Penh yesterday.

Voice of Democracy (VOD) journalist Khut Sokun was “hit and kicked” while covering a rally by Boeung Kak activists at City Hall, while guards attempted to seize and destroy VOD photographer Heng Vitchet’s camera equipment, according to a statement released by the Cambodian Centre for Independent Media, which runs VOD.

According to the statement, the pair was interviewing activists when they were confronted by about five guards who accused them of working for opposition parties and tried to destroy their gear.

Forced away from the area, the reporters regrouped at the nearby University of Health to resume their interviews but were followed by guards, who allegedly assaulted Sokun, an amputee, CCIM stated.

Footage of the attack, captured by a witness, was seized and destroyed by guards, the statement added.

In the statement, also endorsed by Reporters Without Borders and the Southeast Asian Press Alliance, CCIM executive director Pa Nguon Teang slammed the guards’ behaviour and called for them to face disciplinary action.

“I urge the government to use its legitimate powers to ensure that journalists are protected from threats and violence, to respect freedom of the press, and to bring an end to impunity for those who commit these crimes against journalists,” Teang said.

In May last year, amid protests, Information Minister Khieu Kanharith pledged action to stop journalists from being targeted by security forces.

Separately yesterday, a group of reporters in Ratanakkiri were “detained” for about 20 minutes by the province’s Forestry Administration director Vong Sokserey, reportedly upset with their coverage of illegal logging.

The reporters from Hang Meas TV, Apsara ANN and SEA TV were at the Forestry Administration’s compound photographing a van used to transport timber that had been seized by authorities when they found the gate behind them locked.

Sokserey yesterday said the gate was locked because he wanted to meet journalists in person, advise them to make their reports accurate and ask that they report any forest crimes to authorities.

“Some just reported it without asking comments from us, so they did not get accurate information and [their informant] is contradicting the facts when the story is published,” he said.

He then denied he had detained anyone, but allowed that a few journalists “escaped” through a side gate.

MOST VIEWED

  • Prince Norodom Ranariddh passes away at 77

    Prince Norodom Ranariddh, the second son of the late King Father Norodom Sihanouk and former First Prime Minister of Cambodia, has passed away in France at the age of 77. “Samdech Krom Preah Norodom Ranariddh has passed away this morning in France just after 9am Paris-time,”

  • General’s gun smuggling ring busted

    The Military Police sent six military officers to court on November 22 to face prosecution for possession of 105 illegal rifles and arms smuggling, while investigators say they are still hunting down additional accomplices. Sao Sokha, deputy commander of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces and commander of

  • More Cambodians studying in US

    The number of Cambodian students studying at US colleges and universities in 2020-21 increased by 14.3 per cent over the previous year despite the Covid-19 pandemic, according to a recent US government report. The 2021 Open Doors report on International Educational Exchange showed that 848 Cambodian students studied

  • Cambodia, Thailand to discuss border reopening

    Cambodian authorities from provinces along the Cambodia-Thailand border will meet with Thai counterparts to discuss reopening border checkpoints to facilitate travel, transfer of products and cross-border trade between the two countries. Banteay Meanchey provincial deputy governor Ly Sary said on November 22 that the provincial administration

  • Banteay Meanchey gunfight sees 15 Thais arrested, three officers injured

    The Banteay Meanchey Military Police have arrested 15 Thai suspects and their accomplices after a gun battle between two Thai groups caused injuries to three police officers in the early hours of November 21, local authorities said. National Military Police spokesman Eng Hy said that according to

  • Locally-trained commercial pilots to lift Cambodia’s aviation standard

    The Kingdom is boosting its civil aviation sector with the establishment of a flight school with a local airline to meet growth demands once air travel recovers At 22, First Officer Reachta Lim is the youngest commercial pilot in Cambodia. He flies with the national flag