Reporters face defamation, extortion charges

Khy Sovuthy / Khmer Times No Comments Share:

Kampong Chhnang Provincial Court yesterday charged two journalists from Kraing Meas online news platform with public defamation and extortion after a complaint that was filed against them by tycoon Tea Vichet.

Court spokesman Long Sitha yesterday said that Kampong Chhnang provincial court charged Ngin Veasna, chief of Kraing Meas, and Touch Din, a reporter at the company, with public defamation and extortion following a complaint filed against them by Mr Vichet on Wednesday.

“The prosecutor has charged them with public defamation and extortion,” Mr Sitha said.

He said that Mr Veasna and Mr Din were arrested by provincial military police officials on Wednesday at a coffee shop in Kampong Chhnang city’s Kampong Chhang commune following the complaint lodged.

According to Mr Vichet’s complaint, Mr Veasna and Mr Din accused him of illegally importing gasoline into Preah Sihanouk province a few months ago.

Mr Sitha noted that Mr Vichet requested Mr Veasna and Mr Din to correct their information on June 13 but they did not agree to do it, noting that they instead demanded $2,400 from Mr Vichet before they would take down the information they published.

Mr Sitha said that Mr Vichet met with two accused at the coffee shop to talk about the money, when provincial military police moved to arrest them.

Brigadier General Sak Sarang, provincial military police commander, could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Ouch Sophal, Mr Vichet’s lawyer, said that his client had asked them to correct the information many times before his client filed the complaint against both journalists.

“My client asked them to correct the information many times, but they disagreed to correct it,” Mr Sophal said, noting that his client said that the information affected his honor and reputation.

“We did not want to file a complaint against them, but they did not correct the information as my client requested,” he added.

Moeun Chhean Naridh, director of the Cambodia Institute for Media Studies, noted that in cases involving public defamation, police or military police would normally investigate the relevant piece of information before making an arrest.

“If a journalist published wrong information, they can issue a letter of apology to the source,” Mr Chhean Naridh said. “All journalists should respect ethics and professionalism.”

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