10 June 1998
The Committee to Protect
Journalists (CPJ) is writing to express our great alarm
over the shooting of Thong Uy Pang, editor-in-chief and
publisher of the popular Koh Santepheap (Island of Peace)
daily newspaper. We urge your government to investigate
this incident swiftly and thoroughly.
Thong Uy Pang was shot twice in
the shoulder at close range at a temple near Phnom Penh
on June 8 as he was preparing to pray at the grave of his
parents, according to news reports. He survived the
attack and is recovering in hospital. His attacker fled.
While the gunman's motive is not
known, Koh Santepheap ran a front-page story on Wednesday
accusing "powerful politicians in the present government"
of being behind the attack. No details were given. It was
the third attack on Koh Santepheap staff in recent years.
In October 1997 two grenades were thrown at Thong Uy
Pang's home and office but he escaped injury.
With Cambodia preparing for
elections on July 26, it is imperative that journalists
are free to practice their profession without fear of
reprisal. In the last ten years, six journalists have
been murdered in Cambodia as a result of their work.
Failure to find Thong Uy Pang's attacker could have a
chilling effect on the press.
As an organization dedicated to
the defense of our colleagues worldwide, CPJ therefore
urges you in the strongest possible terms to devote
maximum effort to investigating the attack on Thong Uy
Pang and bringing those responsible to justice in a court
William A. Orme, Jr.