Reporters Without Borders today called for a thorough and impartial investigation into a traffic accident in which Sok Serei, one of the Cambodia correspondents of Radio Free Asia’s Khmer-language service, was knocked off his motorcycle and seriously injured in Phnom Penh on the evening of 13 December.
“As there are witnesses who say a vehicle deliberately struck Sok Serei’s motorcycle, it would seem the authorities should urgently explore all leads and try to identify the vehicle involved as quickly as possible,” the press freedom organisation said. “If nothing is done, the entire journalistic community in Cambodia could feel threatened.”
At least four Cambodian journalists have received death threats this year because of their reporting on corruption.
Sok Serei was hit by a 4WD vehicle in the centre of Phnom Penh. Some witnesses said he was struck from behind. Others said the driver opened the door of his vehicle in order to knock Sok Serei off his motorcycle. Sok Serei hit his head hard against the ground in the fall which left him in a coma over night. He continues to receive hospital treatment.
Sok Serei is known for his investigative reports into allegations of corruption by government officials, which were broadcast by Radio Free Asia.
Radio Free Asia’s correspondent in northeastern Cambodia, Sok Rattha (who is better known by the pseudonym of Rattha Visal), was meanwhile threatened by the governor of Rattanakiri province at the end of last month. “He told me he wanted to wanted to verify reports before they were broadcast,” he said.