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Second Khmer paper called before judge

Second Khmer paper called before judge

A SECOND Khmer newspaper is about to be sued for articles claimed to have

damaged the "honor, dignity and reputation" of the two Prime

Ministers.

The Ministry of Information filed charges on Feb 7 against New

Liberty News for an article it ran on Feb 6 accusing Prince Norodom Ranariddh

and Hun Sen of being "the heads of the thieves."

On Jan 17, the Ministry

of Information canceled its decision to shut down the Voice of Khmer Youth,

which had earlier run an accusatory article against Ranariddh, but decided to

sue the paper instead.

The court was expected to hear the two cases

soon, the statement said, adding that under article 32 of the SOC's media law

the maximum fine was three million riel.

In its Feb 6 issue, the New

Liberty News published an article under the byline Toyota calling Cambodia "A

country of thieves" with both prime ministers acting as the heads of the

thieves.

It named Second Premier Hun Sen as a "spearhead of thieves from

the top to the local level, who know how to steal very

professionally."

Instead of cracking down on thieves after the election,

the article continued, First Premier Norodom Ranariddh also "asked to become a

head of thieves as well."

"Long live, cooperation between the two

Samdechs [Norodom Ranariddh and Hun Sen] in becoming the number one heads of

thieves in the world," the article reads.

The statement said it was the

second time the New Liberty News has published an article deemed to be outside

the law.

It added the Ministry of Information had the right to suspend

the newspaper under article 37 of SOC's media law, but it chose not to do so,

rather to proceed with civil charges.

"The article provided no

foundation, no fact and lacked professionalism," said Information Minister Ieng

Mouly.

"This kind of accusation is unacceptable even for the writer

himself," he added.

The government has indicated it is now intending to

sue errant newspapers, rather than forcibly closing them. A draft press law is

expected to go before the National Assembly soon.

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