Pisethvicheyanandh Chor “Anandh”, 2013 winner
RFA’s Pisethvicheyanandh Chor, known as Vichey Anandh, is recognized for his courage and dedication. He has put himself at great personal risk while covering numerous human rights issues, including the arrests of Cambodian journalists, election fraud, appalling working conditions, land grabs that leave villagers homeless and a corrupt court system that provides them no recourse.
In December 2012, he filed a report about a local journalist who had been arrested after informing local authorities about illegal logging. Shortly after, Anandh suffered a severe roadside accident that left him in a coma for nearly two weeks.
A near-fatal accident
About 5:00 a.m. Monday morning on December 10, 2012, Anandh left his wife and newborn baby in their hometown of Kratié to travel to Stung Treng alone on his motorcycle. He planned to report on Human Rights Day there. The previous day, he had filed a report about a local journalist who was arrested after informing local authorities about illegal logging.
Less than an hour later, villagers a little north of Kratié found Anandh lying by the side of the road unconscious. His camera, computer, cell phone, and money all had been stolen.
After police and an ambulance finally arrived, he was taken to a local hospital and eventually transferred to Phnom Penh. Doctors said he had suffered three serious contusions to the brain. Anandh remained in a coma after a week and a half, so was transferred to a hospital in Vietnam. Once there he slowly regained consciousness and was given physical therapy to help him walk again. RFA staff and friends paid for his medical treatment.
His memory was impaired and he could only work for short periods of time. He has no memory of the accident.
A unique education
Anandh came to RFA through a rather unconventional route: He spent 13 years as a monk before earning Bachelor’s degrees in Educational Science and Law. He then came to work temporarily at RFA for the communal elections. He was asked to stay on as a permanent reporter in the Phnom Penh office.
Anandh’s first reporting assignment for RFA thrust him immediately into a land protest that quickly turned violent when security forces moved in and tried to evict villagers. By the time police stopped shooting, a 14-year-old girl lay dead. Anandh was able to move through police lines in order to reach the villagers and get their side of the story.
Since that first story, Anandh continued to report on the wide variety of the injustices with which the Cambodian people live, day in and day out, year after year. He has covered election fraud, appalling working conditions, no health care, lack of clean water, sand dredging that wipes out villagers’ homes, land grabs that leave them homeless, and a corrupt court system that provides them no recourse.