A reporter was briefly detained on the morning of 15 August 2013, after he was discovered taking a series of photographs of 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 reporter and demanded that he delete all of the photographs that he had taken.
According to a news article from Radio Free Asia dated 16 August 2013, the editor of the Phnom Penh Post Khmer publication, Mr. So Visal, was stopped and detained for approximately 30 minutes by police officers from the Khan Mean Chey police station. So Visal had been caught taking photos of the police officers during their morning gathering with their superior and was later verbally abused by a police chief, who accused the reporter of having taken the photographs without the officers’ permission. He was then detained and told to delete all of the images of the police on his camera.
During this encounter, So Visal pointed out to the police chief that his detention would be reported in the news the following day and that it would be bad for the force’s public image if it was revealed how they had forced him to delete the photographs which had been taken in a public place. After So Visal had made this announcement, one of the police officers spoke to his supervisor and it was subsequently decided that So Visal should be set free and not made to delete any of his photographs. When asked if the police had used any intimidating language towards him, So Visal said that there had been no real threat of criminal charge against him, but that the police had verbally harassed him.
Although this incident is now resolved it goes to show how journalists are often mistreated by the authorities and it could also lead to more self-censorship among reporters and media professionals.