NGO Head Sues Newspaper Publisher for Defamation

The president of a local cultural organization on Monday filed defamation and disinformation lawsuits against well-known TV journalist and newspaper publisher Soy Sopheap over an article accusing the NGO president of interfering in government affairs.

A May 30 article printed in Mr Sopheap’s newspaper, Deum Am­pil News, stated that Khmer Civ­ilization Foundation President Moeung Sonn had upset un­named government officials by interfering in negotiations over the border standoff at Preah Vihear temple.

On March 22, Mr Sonn publicly demanded that Thailand pay $9.2 million to families who lost their bus­inesses and homes when a border skirmish on April 3 destroyed the market at the temple.

Mr Sonn said Monday that he objected to a portion of the article that claimed that he sent a list of 69 who must be compensated for the destruction of the market people to the Cambodian government .

“He published an article that hurts my reputation,” Mr Sonn said, adding the allegedly damaging and false report was also repeated by Mr Sopheap on CTN television.

Earlier in the month the Cam­bodian government demanded more than $2 million in compensation for the families near the temple though Thai officials have so far refused.

According to his lawyer Chung Ly Chou, Mr Sonn is suing Mr Sopheap for 400 riel. He added that an additional complaint has been filed with the Ministry of Infor­mation demanding a correction.

Soy Sopheap said he welcomed the lawsuits and will not allow them to distract him from his job.

“I don’t care,” he said. “I must prioritize my work.”

Minister of Information Khieu Kanharith could not be contacted for comment on Monday.


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