A press conference Tuesday morning at the Phnom Penh Municipal Police headquarters about NagaWorld workers’ arrests barred reporters from several news organizations, including VOD.
The press conference, scheduled for 8 a.m., saw guards initially allowing only Fresh News reporters to enter. Later, guards began to ask where other reporters were from, without asking for documents, and allowed some other journalists in, including from government-aligned Bayon TV and CNC.
One guard told reporters who were denied entry: “They only gave us those names, and if I mess up, they would suspend our work.”
“I understand that your boss assigned you to come here, but we don’t dare allow you to go in because there was an order from City Hall.”
A police officer said: “They gave me this [list]. I don’t want to stop you all, and when we don’t have your name, what can we do?”
Phnom Penh police spokesperson San Sokseyha later told VOD that there was no ban, just an attempt to keep things orderly.
“The main problem is that unless there is proper certification and the right documents, we cannot just allow them to come in a messy way. The press is allowed to enter,” Sokseyha said. “There are no clear documents to hand the authorities, so how could authorities allow them to enter?”
A City Hall spokesperson has not yet responded to questions.
Information Ministry spokesman Meas Sophorn said briefly: “It is the right of the competent authorities to decide what to do in the performance of their duties.”
Hun Sirivadh, a reporter for EAC News who was denied entry, declined to comment.
Pen Bona, president of the Club of Cambodian Journalists, said it was possible that some journalists had failed to comply with some registration requirement.
“It may be our fault. But as a journalist, I want authorities to be open to [media] institutions with the proper card.”