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Radio Free Asia tackles tough stories despite threats says CPJ in special report

(CPJ/IFEX) - The following is a CPJ press release:

CPJ special report: Cambodia's Battling Broadcasters

Cambodia's Battling Broadcasters
A CPJ special report: Radio Free Asia tackles tough stories despite threats

New York, October 10, 2007 - In a country with few critical news sources, Cambodia's Radio Free Asia is taking on tough stories about illegal logging, government corruption, and human rights abuses, the Committee to Protect Journalists says in a special report released today. As RFA puts the government on the spot, CPJ finds, its reporters are being subjected to threats and harassment.

RFA journalists have fashioned a grassroots style of reporting that includes on-the-ground sound bites from citizens and undercover reports on illegal activities - techniques that are rare in the rest of Cambodia's news media. Journalists for the U.S. government-funded broadcaster take unusual precautions such as reporting under pseudonyms and working from an unmarked office.

Three of the station's reporters have been forced to flee the country since 2005 due to death threats and potential government reprisals, CPJ's Shawn Crispin reports. Prime Minister Hun Sen has called RFA reporters "insolent," and his bodyguards have barred the station's staffers from news events. Cambodia has a dark history of persecuting its journalists, starting with the violent rule of the Khmer Rouge and continuing through a 1997 coup that brought Hun Sen to full power. At least six journalists were killed in 1990s.

The report is available online ( http://www.cpj.org/cambodiabroadcasters/ ) and will appear in the coming edition of CPJ's magazine Dangerous Assignments.

CPJ is a New York-based, independent, nonprofit organization that works to safeguard press freedom worldwide. For more information, visit http://www.cpj.org

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