Three local journalists were beaten or harassed in separate incidents in Cambodia in recent months, the League of Cambodian Journalists reported Friday.
In two cases, journalists were beaten while they said they were investigating stories. Un Kinin, editor of the Pohna Vorn Khmer (Khmer Intellectual) newspaper, who was beaten most recently, on March 19, now stays at home and fears for his safety, newspaper publisher Huc Dean Huor said Wednesday. “I have lost hope that my colleague will receive justice,” the publisher said.
The case was referred to Koh Kong provincial court on Wednesday, but an investigating judge has not been assigned, provincial court clerk Sou Sovanara said.
The guards who allegedly beat the editor are employees of the Duty Free Stop Co, which is owned by Okhna Ly Yong Phat, Koh Kong’s multimillionaire developer, said Huc Dean Hour.
Some witnesses claimed, however, that Un Kinin was drunk and didn’t pay a bridge-crossing fee.
On Feb 23, Hang Sokhon, a Ponleu Samaki (Light of Solidarity) newspaper photographer, alleged he was beaten by a Kirirom National Park chief as he tried to photograph illegal logging in the park, League of Cambodian Journalists chief Om Chandara said.
On Jan 30, Ly Pov, a reporter for the Kompong Cham province branch of LCJ, said he was threatened and his camera was confiscated by a security guard of the Chamka Andoung rubber plantation, said Kong Chhin, LCJ branch chief in Kompong Cham province.
Ministry of Information Secretary of State Khieu Kanharith on Wednesday urged journalists to follow proper ethical codes.
He charged that some local newspapers approach private companies to try to extort money from them, and said that the three cases reported by the LCJ were isolated incidents.
“Have you ever heard of journalists [from more prominent newspapers] being beaten by the private companies’ guards?” he asked. “Please, local journalists, respect the code of ethics.”