Three men walk through a doorway flanked by a soldier on either side
Yeang Sothearin, centre, is led away. The charges he and his colleague face carry long jail terms. KT/Mai Vireak

Statement on arrest of former RFA Cambodian employees

Two former Radio Free Asia (RFA) employees, former chief photographer Uon Chhin and former office manager Sothearin Yeang, have been detained by Cambodian authorities. Both worked in RFA’s Phnom Penh bureau, which closed in September when the network was forced to suspend its in-country operations. We hope they will be released unharmed and immediately to their families.

It is being reported that the two are being held under suspicion of continuing to work for RFA, despite the network’s suspension of operations in Cambodia and the fact that their relationships with RFA, contractual or otherwise, discontinued in September.

While these continuing acts of intimidation are meant to instill fear, they only underscore the BBG’s support for our networks and journalists, including those at RFA and Voice of America, and our resolve to continue providing the Cambodian people with unbiased, objective news.

Press freedom is a basic human right and should be a universal priority. When we lose independent voices, we run the risk of conceding the information space to hostile regimes, extremists, and rogues.