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Journalist Handed Two Years for Disinformation

Phnom Penh court on Friday sentenced a freelance journalist to two years in prison for disinformation, following alleged threats made to a TV commentator.

Ros Soket, 40, was arrested Oct. 28, after sending several text messages to Soy Sopheap, questioning the CTN celebrity over allegations of corruption.

Judge Chhay Kong said the text messages “dishonored” Soy Sopheap and caused problems for society, dismissing Ros Sokhet’s claims that he had been seeking comment from him, not threatening him.

Prosecutors said Ros Sokhet sent the text messages to four other people, enough for a disinformation charge.

Ros Sokhet is the second journalist to be jailed under defamation or disinformation laws, following the arrest of Hang Chakra, an opposition journalist who ran stories alleging corruption within the powerful Council of Ministers.

Ros Sokhet’s sister, Kearaveak, said Friday the court should investigate further and release her brother on bail.

Soy Sopheap said Friday the decision had been fair.

But Um Sarin, president of the Cambodian Association for the Protection of Journalists, said the case showed a lack of understanding between two reporters who do the same job.