16 July 2008

JOURNALIST KILLED AHEAD OF ELECTIONS


A journalist working for a pro-opposition newspaper was gunned down along with his son in Phnom Penh on 12 July, just weeks before the general election, report the Southeast Asian Press Alliance (SEAPA) and the Cambodian Association for the Protection of Journalists (CAPJ).

Khim Sambo was riding a motorcycle with his 21-year-old son, Khat Sarin Theada, when they were each shot twice by assassins who were also on a motorbike. Sambo died immediately while his son died later in hospital.

It's likely Sambo was killed because of his work at "Moneakseka Khmer" ("Khmer Conscience"), a newspaper linked to the opposition Sam Rainsy Party, says CAPJ. He often reported on corruption, illegal logging and land grabbing by powerful government figures. According to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), "Moneakseka Khmer" is one of only a handful of consistently critical publications in Cambodia.

"When one who dares to write or argue against those with absolute power is assassinated, the perpetrators behind the killing are never found or tried according to the law," the Sam Rainsy Party said in a statement.

The editor of the paper, Dam Sith, was recently charged with printing allegations that Cambodia's foreign minister had ties to the former Khmer Rouge regime, reports SEAPA. The charge was later dropped. CAPJ says that the attack on Sambo came soon after Sith's release.

Sambo's death comes amid heightened violence and tension in Cambodia in the run-up to a general election on 27 July, which is expected to return Prime Minister Hun Sen to power. CAPJ says the attack is creating a "climate of fear" among journalists prior to the election.

Phnom Penh's police say they are still looking for the perpetrators. According to Reporters Without Borders (RSF), the case is the first killing of a Cambodian journalist in five years.

Visit these links:
- SEAPA/CAPJ: http://www.seapabkk.org/- CPJ: http://tinyurl.com/6bg782- RSF: http://www.rsf.org/article.php3?id_article=27833- International Federation of Journalists: http://tinyurl.com/6bpb4p- Reuters: http://tinyurl.com/5e9ryq(16 July 2008)



 
More from Cambodia
  • Cambodia Fundamental Freedoms Monitor April 2017 - March 2018

    The report provides a comprehensive overview of the exercise of freedom of association, freedom of expression and freedom of assembly in Cambodia from 01 April 2017 to 31 March 2018.

  • Challenges for Independent Media 2017

    Cambodia's facade of media freedom collapsed in 2017. Authorities shut- tered 32 radio stations carrying opposition, U.S.-funded or independent content,1 hit often-critical media outlets with tax investigations that closed down newsrooms, and threatened and arrested journalists for “incitement” and “espionage” amid heated rhetoric that claimed foreign agents were attempting to topple the government.

  • Freedom on the Net 2017: Cambodia

    Hackers attacked email and social media accounts operated by activists and journalists

 
More from Asia & Pacific
  • TRUTH VS MISINFORMATION: THE COLLECTIVE PUSH BACK

    SOUTH ASIA PRESS FREEDOM REPORT 2018-2019

  • The Campaign for Justice: Press Freedom in South Asia 2013-14

    Journalism in South Asia is far from an easy profession, as the 12th annual review of journalism in the region "The Campaign for Justice: Press Freedom in South Asia 2013-14" portrays. But this year's report also tells the story of the courage of South Asia's journalists to defend press freedom and to ensure citizens' right to information and freedom of expression in the face of increasing challenges to the profession and personal safety.

  • THE STORIES WOMEN JOURNALISTS TELL: Women in Media in South Asia

    The report is the first created by the South Asia Media Solidarity Network (SAMSN) looking specifically at the experience of women journalists in the South Asia sub-region