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Two journalists served defamation lawsuits

Two journalists served defamation lawsuits

Two Banteay Meanchey reporters were hit with defamation lawsuits after covering a military official’s land dispute trial.

Military Colonel Hang Mao filed the defamation suit in January; however, both Pho Bunthorn, a reporter for Hang Meas HDTV, and Pich Sovanra, a freelancer for a newspaper he asked not be named, claimed they were unaware of the charges until three days ago, when they received summonses to come to court yesterday.

In December, the reporters covered a trial involving 50 Stung Bot village families who claimed the colonel had encroached on their land, and though the court ruled in Mao’s favour, both reporters alluded to the official’s involvement in several other disputes.

“I reported the truth about Hang Mao,” said Bunthorn, who added that if the allegation was incorrect, Mao should have asked for a retraction instead of suing the reporters.

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