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Cambodian journalists cover in an event in Phnom Penh. (Chorn Chanren/VOD)

Opinion: Women’s Challenges in Newsrooms Are Going Unreported

In recognition of International Women’s Day, we gathered our own experiences, and the perspectives of several other women and men in newsrooms, to open a discussion about equity in journalism — whether the issues are about newsroom culture or punishable by law.

Community fishery patrollers drive back to Kampong Kbeung village in a modified boat confiscated from illegal fishers that is now used by the patrol team. An increasing number of illegal fishers are modifying the hulls of their boats so that they can outpace the community patrol boats. (Andy Ball)

On Patrol, a Mekong Village Tackles Electric Fishing Scourge

Volunteer community patrollers along the Mekong aim to stop a rise in illegal electric fishing, which harms river ecosystems and livelihoods that rely on protected fisheries. But the sale of outlawed gear allows the dangerous practice to continue.

A fence being built near plots granted to Prime Minister Hun Sen’s daughters Hun Mana and Hun Maly across the hilly terrain of Prey Nob district's Ream commune in Preah Sihanouk province, on December 1, 2020. (Danielle Keeton-Olsen/VOD)

Villages Emptied Amid an Extensive Web of Elites’ Landholdings

In the past several months, some of the most powerful people in Cambodia have been granted Preah Sihanouk land that boasts stunning ocean views and proximity to key tourist developments. Much of the area sits empty, and interviews with hired guards and local officials suggest there is a web of elite landholdings as many hold onto the plots while their value steadily climbs.

A sex trafficking victim in China uploaded a photo of the house she was forced to live in, in a Facebook post on November 28, 2020.

Sex Trafficking Victim Posts a Call for Help From China

She was 17 when she left her hometown in Kratie for a “good job” in China. Two and a half years later, on Saturday, she was able to post a message online. “They’ve forced me to take husbands here. They said if I don’t take them as husbands, they would sell me to a brothel.”

illustration of mother holding baby boy

A Surrogate Family and the Law That Criminalized Them

Cambodia banned commercial surrogacy in 2016. Since then, about 100 surrogate mothers have been ordered by courts to raise the children they carried for others — a costly but happy result for one.

Eng Malai, also known as So Metta, participates in a protest in Phnom Penh on September 8, 2020. (Chorn Chanren/VOD)

Before Her Arrest, Khmer Thavrak Activist Spoke of Jail, Love for Nation

Khmer Thavrak started from a core group of about 30 activists in January, Metta explained, with small groups of four or five people sporadically joining over the past nine months. She too joined that way: Metta worked as a chef in a Kratie restaurant, and later in a Chinese restaurant in Phnom Penh, but she was always following social issues in the news.

Rice field rats caught in Koh Andet district are sold to brokers for 4,000 to 5,000 riel ($1 to $1.25) a kilogram. (Ananth Baliga/VOD)

In Takeo, Migrant Families Turn to Rat Trade Amid Covid-19 Pandemic

During the rainy season, rising waters in the rice fields surrounding Takeo’s Koh Andet district provide an ample supply of rodents. As the global economic downturn leaves many jobless, some are turning to catching and exporting rats to make ends meet.

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