- Published on Friday, 02 May 2014 14:19
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May 2, 2014, Phnom Penh
CCIM condemns beating of VOD reporter, calls for investigation
Voice of Democracy reporter Lay Samean remains hospitalized this evening for injuries sustained when he was severely beaten by security forces during an election campaign march in Phnom Penh today. The Cambodian Center for Independent Media and Reporters Without Borders condemn this act of violence in the strongest terms possible and calls on city officials to launch an immediate investigation to find those responsible for this disturbing attack.
“The perpetrators must be brought to justice,” said CCIM Executive Director Pa Ngoun Teang. “We must end impunity for those who commit these brutal acts of violence against journalists.”
Samean temporarily lost consciousness during the attack, which involved at least 10 Khan Daun Penh security guards beating him with wooden sticks and kicking him in the head and hands. Samean suffered a broken cheekbone and is currently being assessed for further damage by doctors at a Phnom Penh hospital.
The VOD reporter was covering a peaceful march by CNRP supporters marking the start of the district and provincial council election campaign. As the procession approached the Night Market on Sisowath Quay, security forces violently cracked down on the participants. Samean was attempting to photograph several security guards in the act of beating a monk when their anger turned on him. Security forces also confiscated Samean’s phone and recording equipment, which he had been using to document the attack.
“Cambodian security forces are too free to commit violence,” Teang said. “And journalists are too often the first targeted when the violence starts, putting them in incredible danger.”
Benjamin Ismaïl, head of the Asia-Pacific desk at Reporters Without Borders agreed.
"Cambodia has fallen 27 positions in the World Press freedom Index over the past two years. The government cannot deny its responsibility in the growing insecurity of media professionals in the country. When its security forces are not directly responsible for violence against journalists, the government itself remains passive in front of the attacks against the press. Impunity favors self-censorship and hampers the development of freedom of information in the country. We call for an immediate reaction of the government and concrete measures to protect the press," Ismaïl said.
Friday’s attack comes just one day ahead of World Press Freedom Day on May 3, a day set aside by the United Nations to defend the media from attacks on their independence and to pay tribute to journalists who have lost their lives in the exercise of their profession. CCIM calls on the Royal Government of Cambodia to honor the spirit of World Press Freedom Day by taking immediate steps to halt violence against journalists and to investigate recent attacks on Samean and other journalists by the Khan Daun Penh security guards.
For more information, please contact:
Mr. Kaing Tongngy, Communications & Advocacy Officer
Tel : +855 (0)60 411 777