Harassment of Media
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ethodology :

The information published here by the Cambodian Center for Human Rights (CCHR) is public information on potential cases of restrictions on freedom of expression in relation to the media in Cambodia, gathered from news media in Khmer or English and relevant publications by non-governmental and other organizations between 2008 to 2011. The number of sources relied upon varies from case to case. In certain cases, the information presented is gathered from a single source – usually a news report. Some of the cases are likely to have more information that CCHR could not gather as they have not been reported on. Where information has been made available in relation to how the cases have been resolved, this information has been provided.

CCHR does not contend that the information presented here is conclusive. Rather the information represented through this mapping represents a snapshot of the tactics and instances used to stifle free expression of the media in Cambodia.

Definitions

In order to provide a clear understanding of the situation of the media in Cambodia, CCHR has classified the information into the following areas:

Alleged/Direct Censorship: The publication or the journalist was restricted in relation to publishing.

Violence/Alleged Violence: Violence was used against the journalist in the course of him/her researching, intending to publish or publishing a story.

Harassment/Alleged Harassment: The journalist was harassed in the course of him/her researching, intending to publish or publishing a story.

Confiscation/Alleged Confiscation of Private Property: The confiscation of property that is being used in the course of researching a story, such as notebooks, cameras and voice recorders.

Threat/use of criminal procedure: The journalist was threatened with criminal charges, arrested or charged with criminal provisions in the course of him/her researching or intending to publish a story, or in respect of the content of a story already published. Included in alleged criminal charges are extortion related cases. It should be noted that in relation to these cases at times extortion claims have been brought against journalists as an act of intimidation or harassment to stop them from reporting on cases, particularly in relation to illegal logging. However, there are equally legitimate claims of journalists extorting money not to run a story. The extortion cases in this research should be considered bearing in mind these two issues.*

Threat/use of civil procedure: The journalist was threatened and/or charged with civil law provisions in the course of him/her researching or intending to publish a story, or in respect of the content of a story already published.

Other: There are instances where the nature of the infringement on free expression of the media or the journalist does not fit into any of the preceding definitions these include detention without criminal charge.


* Please note that prior to the Penal Code coming into full force and effect in December 2010, extortion could only be prosecuted under Article 12(1) of the Press Law. Consequently, in most pre-Penal Code recorded instances, the journalists were charged with fraud or deception under Article 45 of the UNTAC criminal code. Nevertheless, the news stories often referred to “extortion” and discuss alleged facts of the case that CCHR would consider as "extortion."

   
Analysis of Freedom of Expression and the Media Cases

The study conducted by CCHR examined incidents involving individuals working throughout the media industry, including journalists, publishers, television presenters and photographers. The study found a total of 123 reported cases involving freedom of expression and the media from the end of 2007 to December 2011, involving 257 different freedom of expression related acts. These cases affected a total of 18 Provinces.

Over 50% of the reported cases occurred in the two largest cities in Cambodia, Phnom Penh (40.6%) and Siem Reap (16.2%). The provinces that Prey Lang forest touches (Kampong Thom, Kratie, Preah Vihear and Steung Treng) amounted to 16.2% of the entire reported cases. 12.1% of reported cases were found in provinces along the Vietnamese border (Ratanakiri, Kratie, Kampong Cham, Kandal and Takeo).

The table below sets out the type of act and the number of acts and the year in which it occurred.

         
Provinces
|
Victims
|
Type of Act
|
Publications
         

The majority of freedom of expression and media cases related to threats/use of criminal procedure, representing 23.3% of the incidents reported. This was followed by threats/use of civil prodecure with 15.5% and violence with 14.8%.

Regionally, Phnom Penh saw the greatest percentage of reported cases involving threats/use of civil procedure against members of the media at 40% and the greatest percentage of reported cases involving threats/use of criminal procedure against journalists and others employed in the media at 30%. This was followed by Siem Reap which saw 12.5% of the reported threats/use of civil procedure and 18.3% reported threats/use of criminal procedure. The provinces within which Prey Lang forest resides accounted for 16.6% of the threats/use of criminal procedure and 17.5% of the threats/use of civil procedure. As well as this, 21% of the cases of violence occurred in the four provinces which Prey Lang intersects.

The table below sets out the type of act and the number of acts and the year in which it occurred.

Province
# of cases
Province
# of cases
Banteay Meanchey
5
Mondulkiri
0
Battambang
3
Oddar Meanchey
1
Kampong Cham
3
Pailin
1
Kampong Chhnang
8
Phnom Penh
50
Kampong Thom
8
Takeo
1
Kampot
0
Preah Vihear
2
Kandal
2
Preah Sihanouk
2
Koh Kong
0
Prey Veng
0
Kompong Speu
1
Pursat
3
Kep
0
Ratanakkiri
3
Kratie
6
Siem Reap
20
Stung Treng
4
Svay Rieng
0
Type of act
2008
2009
2010
2011
Total
Alleged/Direct Censorship
16
4
5
8
33
Threat/ User of Civil Procedure
4
11
13
12
40
Confiscation/ Alleged Confiscation of Private Property
8
4
4
4
20
Threat/Use of Criminal Procedure
17
13
17
13
60
Harassment/ Alleged Harassment
4
1
0
1
6
Violence/Alleged Violence
14
9
7
8
38
Other
16
12
21
11
60
Total
79
54
67
53
257
Type of Publication
2008
2009
2010
2011
Total
Newspaper
28
18
25
19
96
Magazine
0
2
0
0
2
Book
0
0
1
0
1
Blog
0
0
0
5
5
Radio
6
2
0
4
12
TV
0
3
2
4
9
Other
0
3
1
4
8
Total
34
28
29
36
133

In total 133 different media outlets / institutions were examined as part of the study. The study found that the vast majority of media institutions whose freedom of expression were affected were newspapers, amounting to 72% of the different media outlets / institutions examined. Radio (9%) and television (6.7%) were the next categories of media most affected. It should be noted that in some instances 2 or more publications were affected in a single reported case.

The table below illustrates the type and number of publications against whom action was taken as well as the year in which it occurred.

 
Download the data presented on the map as an Excel spreadsheet