Two media outlets forced to take down an article accusing a military official of polluting a public lake
Two journalists from online news sites, RSE-News and Newnetwork, in Ratanakiri Province were sued by Kratie provincial military authorities, on charges of incitement and defamation. This occurred after the media outlets repeatedly reported about land filling in some parts of the public lake in the Snuol district of Kratie Province.
Mr. Song Kimheng, director of Reachsey Isan (RSE) News and Mr. Thy Mou, director of Newnetwork News confirmed that they received a summons letter from the commune police chief on August 15, 2023. The letter was issued by Kratie provincial court, and had an order to appear at the court on August 30, 2023.
Both RSE News and Newnetwork News repeatedly reported that Mr. Yan Sovann, who was identified as a military official in Snuol District, had polluted the public lake by filling it to develop a resort and KTV club. The lake is known for being built during the Pol Pot regime, and mostly is used in service of the interest of indigenous people in the area.
Mr. Song Kimheng said that he reported on the case on July 27, 2023, by interviewing with people involved. He said that after the report, the provincial governor instructed Kratie Provincial Department of Water Resources and Meteorology to investigate the case, but it remains unsolved.
Kimheng said he continued to report on the case through July 30, 2023. Two weeks later, he received a summons from Kratie provincial court to appear at the court on August 30, 2023.
According to Kimheng, Yan Sovann asked them to either remove the article or face legal consequences. Kimheng said the complaint was withdrawn after they agreed to remove the article