Ladypolitik (ladypolitik) wrote in ontd_political,

Mod Post: Help Free Go Takayama.

This is an attempt to help galvanize more on-line and off-line efforts to clear photojournalist, Go Takayama, of false charges made against him by the Cambodian government.

Excerpts of the back-story:

Photojournalist Imprisoned In Cambodia

After photographing a married couple inside a home on the evening of November 23, 2010, Takayama was stopped on the street by undercover police and detained until additional police arrived, Angkor Photo Workshop organizer Jessica Lim told News Photographer magazine today. They confiscated his camera along with 78 photographs from his memory card, which have been admitted as evidence in an accusation charging Takayama with producing pornographic content. He has been under arrest and in prison since that night.

"The 78 photographs depict a couple hugging and holding each other," Lim said today. "Although there was never any nudity, the man had his shirt off and halfway through the shoot the woman took her blouse off as well. The man had on shorts and the woman had on trousers throughout the entire shoot and there was no explicit sexual activity."


When the photographer was stopped by police, Lim says, he and the couple were asked to accompany officers to a police station. There the photographer was charged with producing pornography for the purpose of distributing pornographic content. Lim and the Angkor Photo Workshops have helped to arrange for Takayama to be represented at his first hearing by local attorney Sourng Sophea.

Read FULL account of facts here.

UPDATE!!!! (December 6, 2010):
Cambodian Minister of Information Khieu Kanharith tells News Photographer magazine this morning from Phnom Penh that photojournalist Go Takayama may soon be set free, and that he is convinced of Takayama's innocence and is sending a letter to the Cambodian court requesting his immediate release. Details as this story develops.

Okay ontd_political , we should probably presume that this positive development can be helped along with the sustained support of people writing to their respective embassies, objecting to Takayama's detainment.

If you've begun writing letters, but are having a hard time coming up with what to say, copy + paste this incredibly helpful Letter To Embassies template provided via the Facebook "Free Go" campaign:

To Whom it May Concern:

I am writing this letter regarding a matter of international interest of which I am hopeful that you are already aware of and working to resolve.  On November 23rd, photojournalist Go Takayama was imprisoned in Cambodia for making photographs that illustrate the Cambodian folktale 'The Seven Color Princess.'  The subjects of Takayama's photographs included a crocodile farm, Tonle Sap Lake, Wat Damnak Pagoda, and a traditional Khmer wedding.  He was compiling these pictures as part of an annual photographic workshop held in Siem Reap.  The workshop is held in conjunction with an annual, international photo festival and draws thirty of the most talented emerging photojournalists from throughout Asia.

By all public accounts, the circumstances surrounding Takayama's imprisonment appear to be somewhat misunderstood.  During the course of photographing a couple hugging and holding hands, Takayama was taken into custody and charged with "producing pornography."  It appears as though the facts surrounding the photo-session --and the images themselves --tell a different story.  The photographs do not contain nudity and do not depict any sexual act.  The couple in all of the photographs had given their consent to be photographed hugging and holding hands.

In fact, in all of Takayama's young career, he has never been involved with producing images that could even remotely be construed as pornography.  To the contrary, Takayama's background is that of a young man who has consistently held himself to the highest of ethical standards and availed himself of an education from one of the most regarded photojournalism schools in the United States.  In addition to being a graduate of Ohio University's Visual Communication program, Takayama has worked as a photography intern at Patuxent Publishing Company and Evansville Courier & Press. His work has been published in various publications such as the Vision, City Pictorial, Pen, Southeast Ohio Magazine, Soul of Athens and The Post.

I am particularly troubled by the chilling effect Takayama's arrest will have on photographers wishing to share the beauty of Cambodia.  As you are no doubt aware, tourism is now the second largest foreign currency earner in Cambodia's economy and photographers and other storytellers are the primary means through which tourists discover a particular destination.  Tourism depends on the perception that a host country has history and culture worth visiting and is also stable enough to safely support the presence of foreign travelers.  As the story of Takayama's arrest continues to wind its way through foreign media, these perceptions will undoubtedly be undermined.

For the foregoing reasons I would respectfully like to voice my support for Takayama's immediate release.  I believe this course of action embodies the most positive outcome for all parties involved.



The Cambodian Embassy | Embassy of Japan in Cambodia

Local embassies you can contact with your letters:

United States
Royal Embassy of Cambodia
4530 16th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20011
Telephone Number: 202.726.7742 |  202-726-7824 | 202-726-8268

903 - 168 Chadwick Court
North Vancouver, BC V7M 3L4, Canada
Phone: +1-604-980-1718
Fax: +1-604-988-1765

The UK
64 Brondesbury Park
Willesden Green
London NW6 7AT
United Kingdom
Tel. 020-8451 7850
Fax. 020-8451 7594


Tags: !mod post, cambodia, journalism, law, media, photography, police

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