Sok Pov, 2010 winner
Sok Pov created a series of reports profiling former Khmer Rouge leaders who could face arrest if the tribunal widens its prosecution of the regime. He traveled to the jungles of northern Cambodia in 2009, where many Khmer Rouge leaders have sought refuge and got exclusive interviews with five of them.
Pov, also known as Sok Pov Khemara, confronted the Khmer Rouge officials with questions about their roles in the genocide that killed 1.5 million Cambodians in the 1970s. Local chiefs who recognized his voice from VOA broadcasts guided him to the villages and farms where Khmer Rouge leaders lived in relative safety, often among former Khmer Rouge soldiers. This series of reports embodies the best principles of journalism: the search for accountability and questioning power.
“This series of reports embodies the best principles of journalism: the search for accountability and questioning power,” said BBG Governor Blanquita Cullum. “Mr. Pov was helped in his research in searching for the Khmer Rouge by local chiefs, who recognized his voice from the VOA broadcast,” she added.
Jay Henderson, chief of VOA’s East Asia Pacific division, said he nominated the reporter for the personal danger he put himself in for the series.
“He went in and came out with a very good interview,” Henderson said. “He did establish contacts with those people. They did trust him because they learned to trust the Voice of America, which has been a credible news source. I think they have respect for Sok [Khemara] as well. He did a fair job with them. He did not unfairly criticize them. He simply asked them a few questions and took the answer and reported what they said. This is a very good example of outstanding journalism.”
Sok Pov Khemara said he had not reported with the award in mind, but “for social change, strengthening democracy, human rights, and serving people.”