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CAMBODIA NEWS - OPCC CONDEMNS INTIMIDATION BY CAMBODIAN AUTHORITIES

 

 

 

The shooting that took the lives of Mr Wutty and a military policeman. Cambodian journalist Phorn Bopha and her Canadian colleague Olesia Plokhii, who were investigating reports of illegal logging

 

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia - (opccambodia)

Monday April 30, 2012

In the wake of the murder of environmental activist Chut Wutty on April 26, the Overseas Press Club of Cambodia (OPCC) strongly condemns the intimidation of the two Cambodia Daily reporters accompanying him. Human rights groups have rightly called for a thorough and impartial investigation into the shooting that took the lives of Mr Wutty and a military policeman. Cambodian journalist Phorn Bopha and her Canadian colleague Olesia Plokhii, who were investigating reports of illegal logging in Koh Kong province, gave their account of events in Saturday’s Cambodia Daily.

Based on that account, the OPCC wishes to highlight the following violations of media freedom:

- The confiscation of their cameras by military police officers;

- Attempts to prevent the reporters and Mr Wutty from leaving a public road; and,

- A reported threat to the two women’s personal safety after Mr Wutty was shot when they overheard a soldier saying: “Just kill them both.”

This marks at least the second time that journalists investigating illegal logging in Koh Kong province have found themselves on the end of intimidation by military police in contravention of the laws of the Kingdom of Cambodia.

- Articles 31 and 41 of the Constitution of the Kingdom of Cambodia – the highest law of the land – guarantee the freedom of the press.

- Article 7 of the 1995 Press Law states that journalists have a responsibility to obtain news “by fair methods”. Investigative, on-the-ground reporting clearly falls within this category.

- Confiscation of materials constitutes a form of pre-publication censorship, which is a violation of Article 3 of the 1995 Press Law.

The OPCC condemns as deplorable the threats and intimidation seen this week, as well as the unnecessary and unacceptable violence by the government’s military police and other military officials who refused to identify themselves.

2 The OPCC insists that, in line with the laws of the country, the authorities ensure members of the press are not obstructed while doing their jobs, and that they are not unjustly accused, harassed or arrested for going about their professional duties.

The OPCC urges the government of Cambodia, which is the current ASEAN chair and a prospective member of the United Nations’ Security Council for 2013-14, to ensure that its officials do not threaten or put at risk the lives of journalists who are simply doing their jobs.

© Copyright: National Radio. Any use of these materials, whole or in part, is prohibited unless authorized in writing by National Radio. Contact: nationalradio@yahoo.com All rights reserved.

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