Siem Reap Provincial Court yesterday questioned the publisher of local news outlet Kampuchea Sovanphum over defamation and incitement to commit felony allegations filed against him in March.
Deputy prosecutor Samreth Sokhon yesterday said he questioned Phlong Reth, the publisher of Kampuchea Sovanphum News.
He noted that Chreav commune chief Ka’orb Ran and Kong Mongkul, chief of the Clean Water Chreav Community, in March submitted a complaint against Mr Reth accusing him of defamation and incitement to commit felony.
“He [Mr Reth] clarified things to the court today [Tuesday],” Mr Sokhon said. “We have not made any decisions on this case yet because we are continuing to investigate.”
Mr Sokhon noted that the court had questioned the two plaintiffs in April about their complaint. Mr Sokhon declined to comment further.
Mr Reth explained that the case is related to a story on flooded forest clearing published on his website on March 12, 2019.
“I said in a video clip that the local authority colluded with a businessman to clear the flooded forest,” Mr Reth said. “Now they are suing for 100 million riel.”
Mr Reth denied the accusations.
“I was not involved in defamation or incitement to commit felony,” Mr Reth said. “I deny the accusations and want the court to drop the case.”
“After the deputy prosecutor questioned me, he allowed me to go back home,” he added.
Mr Ran confirmed that he sued Mr Reth, but declined to comment further. Mr Mongkul could not be reached for comment.