An online news journalist in Battambang province was arrested and charged with incitement to commit a felony this week after publicly criticizing the government’s use of Chinese-made vaccines to inoculate the population against COVID-19. The arrest brings the number of journalists arrested in 2021 for their reporting about the government’s response to the pandemic to four.
They face up to five years prison and their case has been passed to an investigating judge for further questioning, said Choun Sopanha, deputy prosecutor and court spokesman, as journalist advocates called for proper investigations into the case.
In a case that has attracted mixed attention from press freedom groups, the Preah Vihear provincial court on Sunday sent eight small-time journalists from just as many publications into pretrial detention for allegedly taking photos in a private area without permission and extorting a timber warehouse.
Journalists were subjected to violence, threats and criminal charges in 2020, as the Cambodian government targeted the free press but did not investigate crimes against reporters and editors, according to a new report.
An Information Ministry advisor was fired from his position, and a journalist association and Facebook news page he runs had their licenses revoked after he posted a picture of a packaged golf kit which he mistook for the first person to die from COVID-19.