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CAMBODIA NEWS - OPCC condemns targeting of journalists

 

 

 

Violence against journalists covering an otherwise peaceful but banned Labour Day rally. At least three journalists were among those attacked by blue uniformed district or municipal security guards

 

 

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia - (OPCC)

Saturday, May 03, 2014

The Overseas Press Club of Cambodia condemns violence against journalists covering an otherwise peaceful but banned Labour Day rally (Thursday, May 1). At least three journalists were among those attacked by blue uniformed district or municipal security guards. These guards wear helmets to obscure their identities, and a city official has said they are not trained to control crowds or use force.

These guards indiscriminately beat people who were documenting the situation; this includes journalists, human rights workers and participants. These uniformed thugs use not only batons but also crude weapons fashioned from wood and metal. One Australian video journalist was clubbed in the knee with a baton. At least two journalists had their phones knocked from them while they were shooting photos and video; in one of those incidents, authorities seized a Cambodian journalist's phone and smashed it in the ground; moments later, a district guard struck her directly in the face. All three were wearing their government-issued press ID cards.

The Phnom Penh Municipality must clarify the role of these security guards in protecting the city. Further, the guards and all authorities must respect the right of journalists to do their jobs -- a role that is protected in Cambodia's 1995 Press Law.

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