Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Reporters suspected of extortion

Reporters suspected of extortion

Journalists being interrogated by officials on Saturday in Ratanakiri province.
Journalists being interrogated by officials on Saturday in Ratanakiri province. Photo supplied

Reporters suspected of extortion

Police in Ratanakkiri detained and interrogated 13 journalists on Saturday on suspicion of trying to extort illegal timber haulers, but released them after confirming they worked for legitimate media outlets.

Ratanakkiri Deputy Provincial Police Chief Oem Phany said the authorities received a tip that the journalists were gathered on National Road 78 in O’Yadav district, near the border with Vietnam.

“The gathering had the characteristics of an illegal checkpoint,” Phany said. “We educated them not to gather like this, and they should seek news with professional ethics.”

Reporters in Ratanakkiri and elsewhere are often accused of shaking down illegal timber haulers for money, but critics say the practice has also been used by authorities to clamp down on legitimate reporting about the illegal timber trade.

Ratanakkiri Provincial Information Department Director Chhay Borin confirmed the journalists had legitimate press cards and that the 12 small online outlets they worked for were registered with the Ministry of Information.

Phany said the journalists – who could not be reached for comment – were released later on Saturday.

MOST VIEWED

  • US names new ambassador to Cambodia

    US President Donald Trump on Friday appointed W Patrick Murphy as the new US Ambassador to Cambodia, replacing incumbent William A Heidt. A press release posted on the White House’s website said nominee W Patrick Murphy is currently acting principal deputy assistant secretary at

  • Kingdom is at a crossroads between East, West after poll

    It was dubbed a success by caretaker prime minister Hun Sen after the electoral victory of his Cambodian People’s Party (CPP), which is poised to take all seats in the National Assembly. But the July 29 national election has not been positively looked at by

  • Final poll results confirm first single-party Assembly

    IN an unprecedented situation in Cambodian politics, the official results of the July 29 national elections have declared that the Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) will take all 125 seats in the National Assembly on the back of it receiving 76 per cent of the votes. The National

  • US to ramp up sanctions after ‘flawed’ national polls

    At a press conference on Wednesday, the US State Department announced that it would expand visa sanctions on the Cambodian officials and individuals it deems responsible for “undermining democracy” in Cambodia. At the briefing, spokesperson Heather Nauert reiterated that the department regarded the July 29 elections