The Overseas Press Club of Cambodia (OPCC) expresses concerns about the sentencing on June 26 of Rath Rott Mony to two years in prison and a US$16,000 fine over his role as a translator and “fixer” on a documentary produced by RT (formerly Russia Today) called “My Mother Sold Me”.
Rath Rott Mony, 48, was charged with “incitement to discriminate” for his role in shooting the documentary, which claimed that certain individuals had sold their daughters into prostitution. The Cambodian authorities have described the documentary as “fake news”.
Both Rath Rott Mony and RT have stated that he was only serving as a “fixer and interpreter” on the documentary and had no editorial control over the film, therefore should bear no responsibility for its content. Reporters Without Borders (RSF), which called the trial a “sham”, has questioned whether the Cambodian authorities pressured the five plaintiffs into filing the complaint against Rath Rott Mony.
“The media situation in Cambodia has become increasingly precarious over the last two years, and this case illustrates how dangerous it can be,” said David Hutt, the outgoing president of the OPCC.
“This case not only highlights concerns about freedom of expression and the justice system in Cambodia, it also highlights the dangers faced by local translators and fixers working across the world for the international media, often unappreciated, underpaid and dangerous roles,” Hutt added.
The OPCC, along with other media protection organizations and Cambodian civil-society groups, calls upon the Cambodian government to investigate the facts of the trial, and calls upon the Court of Appeals to more closely scrutinise the case if Rath Rott Mony launches an appeal against the verdict. The OPCC also calls upon RT to not lose interest in this case and support any appeal launched by Rath Rott Mony.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION, CONTACT
David Hutt, President, OPCC, +855 (0)78 546 550, firstname.lastname@example.org