Yesterday’s decision to re-investigate two former Radio Free Asia (RFA) journalists has one purpose and one purpose only: to telegraph to the world that a free media is meaningless to the Cambodian government, and its presence must be actively suppressed.
The trumped-up espionage charges brought against the two brave journalists in 2017 were already thinly veiled attempts by the Hun Sen government to silence anyone who dares to report the truth in that country. This grievous extension of their legal troubles violates their rights as citizens and is further evidence that in Cambodia journalism is considered a crime.
The court’s action is another in a long line of unacceptable decisions handed down by authorities in that country—actions that the international community cannot and should not tolerate.
To that end, the U.S. Agency for Global Media (USAGM) continues its call for the false charges against the two former RFA Khmer Service journalists, Yeang Sothearin and Uon Chhin, to be dropped and their case dismissed immediately. USAGM also calls on the Cambodian government to cease its relentless attacks on freedom of the press.
While these continuing acts of intimidation and repression are meant to instill fear, they only underscore USAGM’s resolute support for its journalists and networks, including RFA. Together, we will continue to provide the Cambodian people with accurate, objective and professional journalism and to shine a light on the political and humanitarian crises facing the country.