Association Reports Mixed Bag for Press Freedom

Arrests were down, but incidents of violence, threats and other forms of intimidation against journalists increased in 2007, according to a statement issued Wednesday by the Cambodian Association for the Protection of Journalists.

According to the association, conditions for journalists improved when the National Assembly pass­ed an amendment to the Untac criminal code in May 2006, abolishing prison sentences for the crime of defamation.

“Even so, the cases of threats and intimidation against journalists still exist,” the statement added.

CAPJ also pointed to several cases of violence against reporters that occurred in 2007.

In June, a newspaper reporter in Battambang province was held at gunpoint and threatened by an RCAF general; in Pursat province in August, a reporter’s house was burned down twice; and in De­cem­­­ber a grenade was thrown into the house of a newspaper repor­ter in Svay Rieng province, CAPJ stated.

At a conference on Wednesday organized by CAPJ, Information Minister Khieu Kanharith said in a speech that although not yet perfect, conditions for journalists have improved.

He added that journalists are also getting better at their jobs.

“Journalists are improving in both their profession and their mor­ality,” he said, adding that press free­dom in Cambodia is better than most countries in Asia.

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