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Cambodian Newspaper Project: 1991 - 1993: UNAMIC & UNTAC

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.

1991 – 1993: United Nations Advance Mission in Cambodia (UNAMIC) & United Nations Transition Authority of Cambodia (UNTAC)

Overview:

 

The four Cambodian factions include the State of Cambodia, Democratic Kampuchea, FUNCINPEC, and the Khmer People’s National Liberation Front signed the Paris Peace Agreement on 23 October 1991 to end long-lasting civil war and also to prepare the national general election. This peace agreement brought about the present of the United Nations Advance Mission in Cambodia (UNAMIC) to Cambodia to monitor the cease fire during a period from October 1991 to March 1992 and then the United Nations Transition Authority of Cambodia (UNTAC) between February 1992 and September 1993 to administer and ensure a free and fair national general election that took place in May 1993. The mission was viewed as one of the most expensive missions in the history of the United Nations that cost US$1.6 billions.

 

Mediawise, despite the UNTAC Penal Code was controversial, the Cambodian printing press certainly began to grow once again. By May 1993, there were about 20 news organizations including 12 private newspapers that were serving as a political mouthpiece of 12 parties competing in the general election.

 

 Some Major Events:

 

  • January 1992:

Khmer People’s National Liberation Front bulletin was published by the Buddhist Liberal Democratic Party. It was a weekly bulletin for disseminating the party’s propaganda and was highly anti the Cambodian People Party (CPP) and Vietnamese.

 

  • 1992:

UNTAC Penal Code was established making defamation a criminal violation with jail sentence.

 

  • July 1992:

Phnom Penh Post, the first English – language independent newspaper, was established by American couple – Michael Hayes and Kathleen O’keefe. This paper was published fortnightly.

 

  • July 1992:

The Cambodia Times, was established by a Malaysian publisher, Kamaralzaman Tambu, 10 days after Phnom Penh Post. It was an English-weekly newspaper. The Khmer version of the paper was later published. The paper was bankrupt and closed down a few years later.

 

  • 1992:

Le Mekong and La Voix du Cambodge, the French language newspaper were published.

 

  • Late 1992:

The temporary UNTAC radio station and Free Choice newspaper were established.

 

  • January 1993:

Koh Santepheap (the Island of Peace), a Khmer language newspaper was published by Thong Uy Pang was a former reporter for this paper prior to the Khmer Rouge regime.

 

  • April 1993:

Rasmei Kampuchea (the Light of Cambodia) was a Khmer language newspaper was established. It was the most popular Khmer language newspaper in Cambodia.

 

  • August 1993:

The Cambodia Daily, a daily English-language newspaper, was published by Bernard Krisher. He was a former Newsweek correspondent.

 

  • 1993:

A new constitution that provides freedom of the press and journalists was adopted.