Press Freedom and Three Years of VOD English

Journalists gather across the street from the Phnom Penh Municipal Court on January 15, 2020 for opposition leader Kem Sokha’s treason trial. (Matt Surrusco/VOD)
Journalists gather across the street from the Phnom Penh Municipal Court on January 15, 2020 for opposition leader Kem Sokha’s treason trial. (Matt Surrusco/VOD)

Today is Press Freedom Day. It is also the third anniversary of VOD English.

We remain committed to strong, independent journalism — regardless of pressures. Below, we’ve collected some of our best photography from the year, as well as a list of some of the restrictions we’ve faced.

A worker throws a bag of medical waste into an incinerator in Phnom Penh’s Dangkao district on May 24, 2021. (Gerald Flynn/VOD)
A protester holds up the bloodied shirt of Mom Chantha, who was shot by soldiers amid a land dispute, in Kandal province’s Ang Snuol district on June 3, 2021. (Michael Dickison/VOD)
Phnom Penh’s Koh Norea development to the left and, on the far bank to the right, Khun Sea’s satellite city landfill project in Kandal’s Akrei Khsat, on June 16, 2021. (Andy Ball/VOD)

Every member of the staff has faced aggressive threats or harassment from authorities in the past year:

  • Bag and body searched, and received inappropriate comments, at NagaWorld protests.
  • Blocked from leaving a land dispute area near Boeng Tompun and made to delete photos.
Laid-off Cintri workers at the company’s Dangkao district garage on July 6, 2021. (Tran Techseng/VOD)
Hei Man, the lion allowed to live in Phnom Penh, sleeps across from his canine companion at the entrance of a Boeng Keng Kang I commune villa on August 16, 2021. (Danielle Keeton-Olsen/VOD)
  • Detained for taking photos from a public street in Sihanoukville.
  • Restricted from standing at or taking photos on the road near the Phnom Penh Municipal Court.
  • Threatened with being locked in a property and having dogs attack them.
A cave at Kampong Trach in Kampot province on August 27, 2021. (Michael Dickison/VOD)
Rapper Kea Sokun, 22, takes part in a cleansing ceremony outside his house in Siem Reap following his release from prison on September 3, 2021. (Jack Brook/VOD)
  • Blocked from leaving a NagaWorld protest and threatened with detention unless photos were deleted from cameras.
  • Questioned over documentation, including having all pages of a passport photographed, and being told to get a “mission letter” to cover the NagaWorld protests.
Families float along flooded roads in Phnom Penh’s Dangkao district on October 28, 2021. (Andrew Haffner/VOD)
Khmer Thavrak activist Hun Vannak is released from Prey Sar Prison on November 12, 2021. (Kuoy Langdy/VOD)
Military police officers were deployed on New Year’s Eve near Phnom Penh Center, as authorities arrested at least nine NagaWorld unionists. (Mech Dara/VOD)

Our interns have faced similar problems:

  • Grabbed at a NagaWorld protest and pushed toward a detention bus.
  • Blocked from taking video outside the Siem Reap provincial hall.
  • Stopped from taking photos at an environmentalists’ protest, and called an “NGO dog” (chkai angkar).
NagaWorld workers at a rally on January 21, 2022. (Tran Techseng/VOD)
A construction worker shovels concrete close to the edge of the eighth floor of an unfinished condominium building on Phnom Penh’s Bassac Lane. (Andy Ball/VOD)
The Venerable Prom Thomacheat carrying food for a resident gibbon in the Metta Forest around his pagoda in Trapeang Chour commune. The monk lives a hermit-like existence near the Oral Wildlife Sanctuary in Kampong Speu. (Andrew Haffner/VOD)

We’ve counted 16 separate incidents at the hands of state authorities off the top of our heads, though harassment outside the municipal court and at NagaWorld protests additionally happens nearly every time we go.

We are grateful for your readership and support.

A worker cleans Bak Touk Keo canal in Russei Keo district’s Toul Sangke I commune on March 23, 2022. (Roun Ry/VOD)
A man drills a straw hat onto a pole in order to decorate for the upcoming Sangkran festival in Siem Reap on March 30, 2022. (Roun Ry/VOD)
Daun Penh district security guards and activists clash in Phnom Penh on April 26, 2022. (Meng Kroypunlok/VOD)

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