A reporter who worked for an online news portal and his two associates were sent to Kandal Provincial Court on April 25 for breaking the government-imposed inter-provincial travel ban when attempting to cross the border of Kandal and Kampong Cham provinces on April 23.
The three men were arrested by police when they arrived at the border checkpoint in Krang Svay village, Svay Ampear commune, Mok Kampoul district’s Svay Ampea commune in Kandal province.
Kandal provincial police's minor crime bureau chief Lak Mengthy said on April 25 that the three suspects were 36-year-old Voeun Sophornra, a car mechanic and journalist of Yoma TV online Sreang Mengly, 19, and Uy Phearum, 24. They are from Kratie province but are currently residents in O’Bek Ka’am village and commune, Phnom Penh’s Sen Sok district.
"Authorities have sent the three individuals to court for legal procedure because they violated the ban," he said.
Mok Kampoul district police chief Ek Lon told The Post on April 25 that the three suspects were driving a car with Phnom Penh license plates from the capital to Kratie province.
Lon added that after the arrest Sophornra showed a press ID of Yoma TV Online, but the other two were not journalists.
“They have heard about the ban, but still violated it. Those who violate the government’s ban will only face the law,” Lon said.
Meanwhile, Department of Information and Broadcasting director-general and Ministry of Information spokesman Phos Sovann told The Post on April 25 that Yoma TV online is registered with the ministry. However, journalists need to understand the rules and regulations concerning Covid-19.
Sovann added that all articles of the law are stated. Journalists should check articles 49 and 50 about lockdown measures.
"We have to behave according to the law. So, he cannot use his rights as a journalist to do whatever he wants. The law has to be applied,” he said.
"I told him to abide by the rules, and if he does not respect the authorities then the authorities will apply the rules," he said.
He said that journalists can travel in their district, where they work, but don’t break the law.
In a related event, Mengthy said that Kandal provincial court detained a 30-year-old man, Sou Meng Se in the provincial prison on April 24. Meng Se was charged with threatening to beat the village chief and a Kandal province’s Takhmao town guardsman while he was passing through a lockdown area while intoxicated.
He added that after his arrest police performed blood and urine tests and found Meng Se had consumed alcohol and drugs.
"Judge Van Sopanha charged him with breaking the implemented measures and driving under the influence of drugs in accordance with the provisions of articles 4 and 11 of the law on the control of Covid-19 and other contagious diseases," he said.