Media invited to cover 314km march for free expression in Cambodia

Invitation to the Media

Rights March
Wat Phnom to Angkor Wat
February 28-March 15, 2007
Phnom Penh, February 27th, 2007

The Alliance for Freedom of Expression in Cambodia (AFEC) invites the media to report on the “March for Freedom of Expression, Non-Violence, and Political Tolerance in Cambodia” from Wat Phnom, Phnom Penh to Angkor Wat, Siem Reap from February 28th to March 15th, 2007.

In the past, higher level of political violence occurred before and during election campaign. As the commune council election campaign will launch on March 16 2007, it is necessary that we all demand political tolerance amongst political parties and grassroots members as well as the general public.

We also like to remind that freedom of expression, which is the cornerstone of democracy, is still restricted. Prison term was removed from defamation; its charges are still criminalized and still serve the purpose to intimidate critics of the powerful. Also the government is now turning to Article 62 of UNTAC Law more often since prison term was removed from defamation. Many journalists and villagers were accused and convicted of disinformation. These charges limited the right to Freedom of Expression and a serious threat to democratization.

The marchers will be heading from Phnom Penh toward Angkor Wat, Siem Reap province, where they will participate in a praying ceremony for “Freedom of Expression, Non-Violence, and Political Tolerance in Cambodia” on Thursday, March 15th 2007.

Press conference with leading Cambodian human rights activists

on February 28th, 2007, 8 o’clock a.m., at Wat Phnom, Phnom Penh

start of the march at 8:15 a.m.

The march will consist of a core group of 600 nominated by member organizations of the AFEC. The public along the way will be invited to participate in the march during the whole time or on a part of the way that is about 314 kilometers totally. All participants will wear Yellow Ribbons as symbols for the demand for Freedom of Expression. The marchers will be accompanied by ox-carts carrying big banners with the message of the march. Each day of the march, each member of alliance will launch its own topic concerning to the theme of the march, that is for freedom of expression, non-violence and political tolerance in Cambodia. A statement will be issued every morning of the march to highlight the topic of the day. A live roundtable discussion from the resting place of the marchers will be held every evening of the march from 5pm to 6pm. Panelists will include experts who join the march. Villagers are invited to participate as well as express their opinions. The roundtable will be aired live on 4 different radio stations through Beehive Radio FM105Mhz, 90FM, Radio Klaing Moeung FM90.25Mhz in Battambang province and Angkor Ratha Radio FM95.5Mhz in Seam Reap province.

For more information please contact: Mr. Ou, Virak, General Secretary of the AFEC: 012 404 051

or Mr. Pa Ngoun Teang, Executive Director of Cambodian Center for Human Rights: 012 598 066

—————————————————————————–

Ou Virak
Advocacy Program Director and Spokesperson
Cambodian Center for Human Rights (CCHR)
# 19, Street 287, Sangkat Boeung Kok I, Khan Toul Kork
Phnom Penh, Kingdom of Cambodia
Mobile: (+855) 12 40 40 51
Telephone: (+855) 23-883-832 Fax: (+855) 23-883-481
E-mail: virak_ou@yahoo.com
Website: http://www.cchr-cambodia.org

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