Home > Local News > Worker jailed for printing news blog article and showing it to colleagues

Worker jailed for printing news blog article and showing it to colleagues

Source: Reporters Without Borders

Seng Kunnaka (Photo: Ly Meng Huor, RFI)
Reporters Without Borders condemns
the six-month jail sentence and fine of 1 million riels (250 dollars)
that a Phnom Penh court imposed on World Food Programme employee Seng
Kunnaka on a charge of criminal incitement for printing an article
critical of the government and showing it to workmates.
Judge Keo Vandy convicted Seng
under article 495 of the new criminal code in a summary trial on 19
December for sharing an article from the popular news blog KI-Media referring to Prime Minister Hun Sen and several other senior politicians as “traitors.”
KI-Media recently also posted articles criticizing Cambodia’s
territorial disputes with Vietnam, a very sensitive topic. Seng’s
lawyer, Chou Sokheng, said he would appeal.
This conviction reflects the harder line being taken by the government on online free expression,”
Reporters Without Borders said. “While not commenting on the content of
the article, we point out that Seng did not distribute it publicly,
which is punishable under Cambodia law. He just printed it in order to
read it with two colleagues. He should not be made to suffer because of recent friction between the World Food Programme and the Cambodian government.

Seng was tried just two days
after being arrested in the Phnom Penh neighbourhood of Russei Keo,
where he worked at a World Food Programme warehouse. His arrest came
just days after the prime minister accused the WFP of wrongly claiming
that Cambodia faced the possibility of a food shortage. WFP officials
subsequently gave a public apology.
The new criminal code, which
took effect on 10 December, reinforced the already existing
restrictions on free expression. Article 495 is based on a vague
definition of incitement as sharing or exposing the public to speech,
writings, drawings or audiovisual telecommunication that could
“directly result in a crime being committed” or in “serious social
unrest.” Defamation and “affecting the dignity” of others is also
punishable under this article.
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Categories: Local News
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