Former Cambodia Daily journalists Aun Pheap, from Cambodia, and Zsombor Peter, from Canada, face over 2 years in prison in a trial that is starting on Wednesday, December 25, 2019, at the Ratanakiri Provincial Court.
Pheap and Peter, both veteran journalists who worked on many major stories, have been charged with ‘incitement to commit a felony’ under articles 494 and 495 of Cambodia’s criminal code. The charges follow complaints made by Rmam Yout, a commune chief in Ratanikiri Province, who accused the journalists of trying to ‘incite’ villagers during routine interviews for an article about the 2017 communal elections. Pheap and Peter were visiting the only commune in the province that had previously voted for the opposition party. Their visit constituted basic media coverage of an important event, that should not be considered a crime.
The Overseas Press Club of Cambodia (OPCC) has concerns about the nature of the charges against the two journalists and the imminent trial. The OPCC hereby informs the public that it supports all journalists in Cambodia and condemns any type of harassment and intimidation of journalists. Media workers and media outlets should not feel threatened, and should not face charges as a result of doing their jobs.