‘Beehive’ Journalist Silenced for Exposing Foreign Land Grabs in Cambodia

Mam Sonando arrested in Cambodia in 2005

Mam Sonando has long been targeted by Cambodia authorities for speaking out. Here he was arrested in 2005 and charged with “defaming the government.” (Photo TANG CHHIN SOTHY/AFP/Getty Images)

When you think of a beehive, what comes to mind? A constant hum of activity; bees working together; social interaction for a common goal. This sort of activity is not welcome in Cambodia. With its in depth reporting on difficult political issues, Beehive Radio in Cambodia embodies the image of a real beehive.

On June 26, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen called for the arrest of 71 year old Beehive Radio journalist Mam Sonando. He is charged with offences against the state following a broadcast that focused on forced evictions.

The government is forcefully evicting residents in the Kratie region from land it is selling to a Russian rubber company. In May military police in Kratie opened fire at a group of around 1,000 families who refused to leave their land. They killed a 14 year old girl and injured 2 others. In addition to Kratie, thousands of other people face forced evictions throughout Cambodia.