Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Cambodian war crimes court accuses VOA of contempt

Cambodia’s UN-backed war crimes court said today it had started contempt of court proceedings against Voice of America Khmer for revealing confidential information about a new Khmer Rouge case. The move comes after the VOA posted an article and video on its website describing prosecution allegations of mass killings and other atrocities by three mid-level cadres during the regime’s 1975-79 rule. The website cited a document obtained by a source close to the court.

VOA Khmer “on 10 August 2011 quoted verbatim from a confidential document… and even showed that document on a video,” said the two judges who are still investigating the claims in the court’s fourth and final case. The news service chief Chris Decherd refused to comment directly on the court action, but said: “VOA Khmer supports the work of the tribunal and helps inform the Cambodian public by reporting about the court’s work.” He added that VOA’s role was to serve Cambodian citizens “who deserve and are well-served by objective and quality news reporting about issues and topics that impact and affect their daily lives”.

This marks the first time judges have followed through on warnings to launch contempt proceedings, following numerous leaks to the media. Their terse statement however failed to clarify if action was being taken against the journalist, the editor or the producer of the piece, all of whom are understood to be in Washington, DC.
(Source: AFP/R Netherlands Media Network Weblog)