Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries threatens CamboJA with possible legal action

Description

The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries (MAFF) sent a letter to the editor of CamboJA news. In the letter, MAFF alleged that CamboJA News had breached journalistic ethics by making unsubstantiated claims and speculation in a recently-published article.

The letter was written in response to an article CamboJA had published the previous day, on September 14th, 2023. The article, titled “Family of Violently Beaten Government Critic Seeks Justice,” covered the assault of a vocal critic of government policies and the aftermath of the attack.

The letter requested CamboJA’s editorial team remove the name of the MAFF Minister, Dith Tina, as well as other “unsubstantiated claims and speculation” from the article. MAFF asserted that these claims could negatively affect the reputation of MAFF and the minister, and the article was written deliberately to portray MAFF in a negative light.

MAFF threatened to take legal action against CamboJA, if the request was denied or if CamboJA acted on “malicious intentions and defamatory speculations” again. MAFF warned that this could lead CamboJA to the same outcome as​​ Voice of Democracy radio (VOD), which ordered to shut down in February.

After consulting with a lawyer and the editorial team, CamboJA made the decision to remove the name Dith Tina from the article, as well as corrected a source’s name and the name of the Associate Editor to avoid legal action that would result in its license revoked.

Information
Number of attacked persons or entities related to media
1
Do they work as freelance or media?
Yes
Position in media
Status of journalists
Gender
Data not collected
Country
Phnom Penh Capital
Full name or name of group
Identified
The name of perpetrator (individual/group)
The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries
Attack mention about gender background/sexual wording?
No
Date of incident
Type of incident
Closure or suspension of media outlet by authority