Since reporting on deforestation in Kompong Thom province, Mr. Lem Piseth – a journalist at Radio Free Asia – has faced anonymous death threats. He published four articles on the damage resulting from forest destructions, after which he was followed by the police and military and forced to leave his hotel room by the hotel owners, who offered no explanation.
On June 16, 2007, while on his way to Kampong Seu, he received an anonymous phone call in which a man’s voice called him “insolent” and asked him if he “wanted to die”. The man explained he was calling “because of the story about the forest”, and that there would not be “enough land to bury [him] in”. Mr. Piseth tried calling back, but could only reach a call centre. Because of these threats, Mr. Piseth was obliged to flee abroad.
All of these events took place after the publication of a report on illegal forest destruction in Cambodia, on June1, 2007, by the NGO Global Witness. Two days later the report was banned by Cambodian authorities. Radio Free Asia, among others, continued to release news about the report and was ordered by a police official to cease any more radio broadcasting on the issue. Mr. Piseth also quoted the report in a radio broadcast.
Letter by Gail Davidson sent on June 22, 2007.