17 November 2010
Nov 17: Phnom Penh (BANNED)
(RFA video news)
On November 17, police broke up the second attempt to screen Who Killed Chea Vichea? in Phnom Penh.
The attempted screening was organized by the Cambodian Confederation of Unions to take place in the Phnom Penh's new "Freedom Park." In order to hold a demonstration there, organizers must receive permission first. Attendance is limited to 200 people.
"Freedom Park is now the designated location where all demonstrations must be held," director Bradley Cox told London's Independent. "The Cambodian government would like the international community to believe this shows their growing commitment to freedom of expression."
The CCU, led by Rong Chhun, decided to go ahead with the screening even though permission was denied. Before the attempt, the Ministry of Interior's spokesperson, Khieu Sopheak, was quoted by the Phnom Penh Post as saying, "It is still a forbidden film. There is no public spot for him to screen it. If he wants to screen it, he can go and try. He has tried that already."
“The banning of this film shows that the freedom of expression in Cambodia is less than zero,” said Chea Mony, Vichea's brother and successor as president of the Free Trade Union of Workers, quoted by VOA.
An initial attempt to show the film on May 1 near the location where Vichea was murdered was also prevented by police, who tore down screens erected by unionists for a screening after their Labor Day march.
Who Killed Chea Vichea? has screened at festivals all over the world, as well as at the prestigious National Press Club in Washington DC and the Foreign Correspondents Club of Thailand. However the authorities in Cambodia appear to be determined that the public in that country never be permitted to see it.
Voice of America: Chea Vichea documentary banned at Freedom Park
Phnom Penh Post: Police break up film screening
The Independent (London): Cambodia represses truth about union leader's murder
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