A Reporter Briefly Detained by Police Chief After Taking Photographs of Police Officers at Work

Created Date : 17 / Aug / 2013
Nature of Violation :
Rights Involved : Freedom of Expression and Information


A reporter was briefly detainedon the morning of 15 August 2013, after he was discovered taking a series of photographsof police officials on duty in front of Khan Mean Chey police station. An individual,who identified himself as the station’s police chief, spoke rudely to the reporterand demanded that he delete all of the photographs that he had taken. According to a news article fromRadio Free Asia dated 16 August 2013, the editor of the Phnom Penh Post Khmerpublication, Mr. So Visal, was stopped and detained for approximately 30minutes by police officers from the Khan Mean Chey police station. So Visal hadbeen caught taking photos of the police officers during their morning gatheringwith their superior and was later verbally abused by a police chief, who accusedthe reporter of having taken the photographs without the officers’ permission. Hewas then detained and told to delete all of the images of the police on hiscamera. During this encounter, So Visalpointed out to the police chief that his detention would be reported in thenews the following day and that it would be bad for the force’s public image ifit was revealed how they had forced him to delete the photographs which had beentaken in a public place. After So Visal had made this announcement, one of thepolice officers spoke to his supervisor and it was subsequently decided that SoVisal should be set free and not made to delete any of his photographs. Whenasked if the police had used any intimidating language towards him, So Visalsaid that there had been no real threat of criminal charge against him, but thatthe police had verbally harassed him. Although this incident is nowresolved it goes to show how journalists are often mistreated by theauthorities and it could also lead to more self-censorship among reporters andmedia professionals.

Contact Information

For more information, please contact CCHR Freedom ofExpression Project Coordinator Sorn Ramana via telephone at +855 (0) 17 65 55 91 or email at [email protected].