Three journalists forced to leave forest community while reporting on deforestation
On April 21, foreign reporter Gerry Flynn from Mongabay and two freelance journalists, British national Andy Ball and Cambodian Meng Kroypunlok, were forced to leave the Preah Roka forest community in Preah Vihear province by environmental ministry rangers while reporting on deforestation.
The journalists were escorted out of the forest and released without being detained. "We were told we weren't allowed to be in the forest as we hadn't asked for permission from the authorities," Flynn said.
Flynn had gone to film the community's patrol as part of Mongabay's “Chasing Deforestation” video series. He chose Preah Roka because it was a safer forest to embed in a patrol through the nearby Prey Lang Wildlife Sanctuary.
Flynn said he had informed the rights group Licadho of his mission in advance. He told CamboJA that Licadho then spoke with a network of civil society organizations (CSOs). This led to the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) country office speaking directly with the Preah Vihear provincial administration. The administration agreed not to detain the three journalists.
"If we hadn't managed to alert NGOs, we might have faced the police or even the courts," Flynn said.