Thursday, 23 July 2009

Free expression deteriorating in Cambodia

23 July 09

IFEX Press Release:

The Southeast Asian Press Alliance (SEAPA) and its members and allies working for the promotion and protection of free expression in Southeast Asia have issued an open letter to Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen, denouncing a "rapidly and palpably deteriorating environment for free expression in Cambodia."

The groups and advocates have noted a rash of attacks against journalists, lawyers, advocates, and parliamentarians over the past year that has severely restricted the space for press freedom and political speech in Cambodia. SEAPA says Cambodia’s leaders must be taken to task for the situation, stressing that violations of people’s rights to free expression are ultimately a regional problem and concern.

The open letter calls attention to Cambodia in the context not only of its constitutional guarantees for free expression, but also in light of the current 42nd Ministerial Meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) which is taking place in Phuket, Thailand. The ASEAN’s task this week to adopt Terms of Reference for the formation of an ASEAN Human Rights Body, SEAPA said, takes on significance and urgency precisely because of situations such as those unfolding for the free expression environment in Cambodia.

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