Publisher of online TV sued by military officer for defamation and incitement

Description

The publisher of TN TV has been sued by a military officer for defamation and incitement after he reported on an issue involving the officer and a woman, who he allegedly borrowed $1 million from.
On February 7, 2024, TN TV published an article about a dispute between a three-star ranking military officer living in Kampong Speu province and the lender.
Based on the report, the military officer allegedly borrowed $1 million from the woman in October 2021 and failed to pay back. The report included pictures of the military officer and copies of the loan agreement between the officer and woman, and other documents. The report mentioned that the military officer allegedly failed to settle both the principal sum and interest, as well as avoided repayment obligations.
Following the news report, on February 8, 2024, the officer’s lawyer sent a letter to TN TV, requesting them to delete the article. They claimed that the journalist allegedly tried to exaggerate the information, and that the article was allegedly defamatory and written with the intent to incite. The lawyer also said the report allegedly failed to seek any clarification from his client.
The publisher told CamboJA that he refused to delete the article, saying that he reported based on the information provided by another party and had sufficient evidence to support his news piece.
Having refused to delete the article, the publisher later received a summon from the Phnom Penh court on February 16, 2024, notifying him of a legal suit filed by the military officer against him for defamation and incitement.
On March 12, 2024, the publisher went with his lawyer to the Phnom Penh municipal court for questioning in accordance with the complaint filed by the military officer. The publisher maintained his refusal to delete the article.
“I told the court that the information published in the news report is true because I obtained all the documents from the lender,” he said. “I asked the court to drop the case because I have not defamed and incited [anyone].”
The military officer also filed a complaint with the Ministry of Information calling for the revocation of the media’s license.

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
Male
Age
Country
Phnom Penh Capital
Full name or name of group
Identified
The name of perpetrator (individual/group)
Ouk Kosa
Gender
Attack mention about gender background/sexual wording?
No
Date of incident
Type of incident
Criminal lawsuit/charge: Defamation
Please type the data source here (text)
CamboJA interviewed with Keo Ratana