The Kampong Chhnang provincial court yesterday sentenced Sok Oudom, the owner of Rithysen Radio and website, to 20 months in jail after he was found guilty of inciting villagers in a land dispute.
Un Chanthol, the lawyer for Oudom, said yesterday his client expressed his frustration and decried the verdict.
“My client was not satisfied with the court’s decision. He will file an appeal against it,” Chanthol said, adding that Oudom was also ordered to pay $5,000 in fine.
Police arrested Oudom on May 13 and the Kampong Chhnang court charged him with incitement to commit felony after allegedly inciting villagers to encroach on state land within Aural Wildlife Sanctuary.
In May, some 130 civil society groups and a union called on the government and court officials to drop charges against Oudom noting that officials had targeted journalists over their reporting.
The groups, including Cambodian Journalists Alliance, Licadho, Adhoc and Center for Alliance of Labour and Human Rights, issued a statement appealing to the Kampong Chhnang provincial and Phnom Penh municipal courts to drop the charges against them.
Earlier this month, the Ministry of Information also requested action be taken against any media outlets publishing fake news that could cause widespread panic.
Information Ministry spokesman Meas Sophorn said recently that the notice was intended to remind journalists in Cambodia, especially on online media, to act with professionalism and respect the law.
“We still see a small number of local media not following the press law, so the ministry released the notice,” said Sophorn.