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Cambodian Newspaper Project: 1953 - 1970: Sangkum Reastr Niyum

A collection of Cambodian newspapers in the 1990s, a transition period when Cambodia emerged from a communist to a liberal democratic state. A historical collection that can tell so many stories Cambodia experienced during this transition period.

1953 – 1970: Pre- & Sangkum Reastr Niyum, led by Samdech Sihanouk



After gaining an absolute independence in 1954, King Norodom Sihanouk abdicated the throne in 1955 to establish the Sangkum Reastr Niyum (People's Socialist Community). Under his rule, both local and international media were under an intense atmostphere. For instance, in 1969 Samdech Sihanouk sued Khmer Ekreach after this paper accused one of his close allies of involving in corruption. He also used his own English-French monthly news bulletin, Kambuja Monthly Illustrated Review, as his political weapon and voice against those foreign presses.  However, the number of Cambodian print press rose to 30 in total by 18 March 1970 when Gen. Lon Nol led the coup ousted him. The following are some of the critical events happened during that time.


Some Major Events:


  • 1 April 1955:

Pracheachun (The People), which was an underground newspaper was established to disseminate the communist propaganda.


  • 20 June 1959:

Samaki (Solidarity) was established by Salot Chhay who was Pol Pot’s brother.


  • 01 January 1959:

Reastra Thipatei (People’s Democracy) published by Sam Sary, Sam Rainsy’s farther, after he broke up with Samdech Preah Norodom Sihanouk who was then Head of State.


  • 22 September 1959:

L’Observateur (Observer) was a French language newspaper that was highly critical of the conservative group established by Khieu Samphan.


  • 11 October  1959:

Editor of Pracheachun, Nop Bophan, was shot dead in Phnom Penh.


  • 1960s:

Siteak Monus (Human Rights) was established by Khun Ngo.


  • 1960s:

Le Sangkum (The Society) was established by Prince Norodom Sihanouk.


  • 1960s:

La Dèpêche was established by Sim Var.


  • 1960s:

La Nouvelle Dèpêche (The New Dispatch)was established by Chau Seng & So Nem.


  • 1960s:

Soriya (Sun) was established.


  • 1960s, 1970s:

Reach Khmer (Royal Khmer) was established by Khun Ngo.


  • Late 1960s, Early 1970s:

Apsara was established by Thuong Bun Thoeur.


  • 1960s, 1970s:

Prum Daen (The border) was established by Khun Ngo.


  • 1960s, 1970s:

Rèalitès Cambodgiennes was established by Douc Rasy.


  • 1965 – :

Bulletin Mensuel de Documentation (B.M.D.) was established by the Cabinet of the Royal Palace.


  • 1965 – 1970?:

Kampuchea Monthly Illustrated Review was published by the cabinet of Samdech Sihanouk.


  • 1967 – :

Khmer Ekareach (Independent Khmer) was published by Sim Var as a vehicle for criticizing Samdech Sihanouk.


  • 1967 – :

Sochivathor (Morality) was published by Nouth Chhoeum, chief of cabinet of Samdech Sihanouk.


  •  1968 – 1975:

 Koh Santepheap (Island of Peace) was published by Sou Sorn, Nouth Chhoeum & Chou Thany.


  • 1969 – :

Nokor Thom (Angkor Thom, the Bayon) was published by Soth Polin who is Sim Var’s newphew.  


  • 18 March 1970:

Prince Norodom Sihanouk was ousted by the coup, led by Gen Lon Nol.