In Cambodia, journalism can be a crime. That is the meaning of the charges against two Cambodian journalists, Uon Chhin and Yeang Sothearin, who worked for Radio Free Asia (RFA), a private news organization that receives U.S. government funding to bring accurate news and information to people living in closed societies in Asia. The journalists are now awaiting a verdict from a Cambodian court on wholly manufactured charges of espionage and producing pornography. The charges should never have been brought and should be dropped.
RFA was forced to close its nearly 20-year-old Phnom Penh bureau on Sept. 12, 2017, after pressure and threats from the government of Prime Minister Hun Sen as part of a wider crackdown on nongovernmental organizations, the news media and political opposition in advance of the July 2018 elections.