Accessibility links

City Silences District Leaders on Crime Operations

  • Chun Sakada
  • VOA Khmer

Phnom Penh Governor Kep Chuktema, right, greets well-wishers as he arrives for the inauguration ceremony of Democracy Square in downtown Phnom Penh.

Phnom Penh Governor Kep Chuktema, right, greets well-wishers as he arrives for the inauguration ceremony of Democracy Square in downtown Phnom Penh.

Phnom Penh’s governor has ordered subordinate district leaders to cease providing information to the media on counter-drug operations and other ongoing law enforcement efforts, a move criticized by rights groups and journalists Tuesday.

In a May 11 notice, Phnom Penh Governor Kep Chuktema told eight district governors they must first seek permission from his office before releasing information to the press.

Information about ongoing cases has appeared in the media, making it difficult to capture top leaders of criminal operations, he said. Officials who divulge information to the media without permission will face disciplinary or legal action, he wrote.

Pen Samitthy, president of the Club of Cambodian Journalists, said city officials need to work closer with local media to prevent drug offenses and not necessarily stop giving them information.

Rights officials said that the order was understandable during ongoing operations, but that it could be abused.

Ou Virak, president of the Cambodian Center for Human Rights, said the city should clarify the reason behind the order. And Thun Saray, president of the rights group Adhoc, said the order was justifiable only so long as it lasted only as long as a given law enforcement operation.

However, Nath Pheaktra, secretary general of the Cambodian Association for the Protection of Journalists, said the order was a bad sign for the media’s access to information.

“I think City Hall’s prohibitory notice is a violation of the rights of access to information for people and the rights of the media and journalists,” he said.

Phnom Penh’s governor has ordered subordinate district leaders to cease providing information to the media on counter-drug operations and other ongoing law enforcement efforts, a move criticized by rights groups and journalists Tuesday.

XS
SM
MD
LG