Opposition publisher to face civil and criminal charges during Municipal Court hearing today.
Embattled Pro-Sam Rainsy Party newspaper Khmer Machas Srok News on newsstands Tuesday.
A GOVERNMENT lawyer said Tuesday that he had filed defamation charges against the publisher of a daily Khmer-language opposition newspaper, one week after the publisher received a Municipal Court summons to answer to criminal charges filed in the same case.
Suong Chanthan said he filed the defamation charges against Hang Chakra, publisher of the Pro-Sam Rainsy Party newspaper Khmer Machas Srok News, during a May 21 meeting with prosecutor Sok Roeun, who is handling the case. The civil complaint asks for compensation totalling 10 million riels (US$2,415).
The criminal "false information" charges were filed May 11. According to the Press Law, the court may impose a fine of between 1 million riels and 5 million riels for publishing false information.
Hang Chakra told the Post Tuesday that the charges stemmed from three articles - published on April 5, April 7 and May 2 - that he said
uncovered corruption on the part of officials working under Deputy Prime Minister Sok An.
Suong Chanthan declined to discuss the details of either complaint in advance of a hearing scheduled for today.
Hang Chakra said he planned to answer to both complaints at the hearing.
"In order to ensure widespread journalistic freedoms in Cambodia, I am going to the court on June 3 to answer to the charges, which are serious," he said. "I hope that the law will protect me."
The Cambodian Human Rights Action Committee issued a statement Tuesday in which 21 NGOs expressed concern about the charges, calling them a "threat to journalists".