Ministry Considers Ban on Film About Murder of Chea Vichea Murder

The Ministry of Culture said Tuesday that it may ban a new documentary film which claims that the two men convicted of the murder of Free Trade Union president Chea Vichea are innocent.

“The Plastic Killers,” a 50-minute documentary by US filmmaker Bradley Cox, outlines events following the January 2004 killing of Chea Vichea. The film, which was re­leased Friday, presents eyewitness interviews and argues that the convicted killers Born Samnang and Sok Sam Oeun, who are both serving 20 years in jail, could not have murdered the union leader.

“If the DVD exaggerates the truth, we won’t allow them to distribute it,” Culture Ministry Cinema Deputy Director Muong Sokhan said in a telephone interview.

“The producer must request a license to distribute DVDs. Without a license it is illegal and it is a crime,” he said, adding that the ministry could confiscate copies of the film.

Interior Ministry spokesman Lieutenant General Khieu Sopheak and Phnom Penh Municipal Police Chief Touch Naruth both said that police will cooperate with the Cul­ture Ministry if the film is banned.

Cox, currently in Bangkok, wrote by e-mail Tuesday that the Culture Ministry is using the li­cense issue as a pretext to possibly prevent distribution of his film. Cox said that he did not apply for a license as the film is not being distributed commercially.

“If the movie was about demin­ing or the history of Angkor Wat, I doubt I’d have any problem with the Ministry of Culture at all. But since it shows national police in an unfavorable light, I think they’ll use any excuse to confiscate it,” Cox wrote.

Chea Mony, current president of the Free Trade Union and the brother of Chea Vichea, said that he has received 50 VCD copies of the film and that he plans to distribute them to union leaders throughout the country.

“It is important to distribute it to the workers so that they can understand the truth,” he said. “If the ministry prevents it, it is suppression of freedom of expression,” he added.



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