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Cambodian Newspaper Project: 2003 - 2008: 3rd RGC

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.

2003 - 2008: 3rd Royal Government of Cambodia



It was a period when the political stability was seen to be more realistic. At the same time a number of training and trained journalists was increasing. The factors certainly had enhenced the Cambodia media reaching its new level of development toward a more investigative reporting and to fulfill its three main roles of informing, educating and entertaining the public. Because they could now widely access to the media with balanced and fair report, Cambodian people were no longer viewed as “a frog in a pond”. Besides news that was largely related to political parties and politicians, readers could also find stories about the challenges and success of a daily life of an ordinary people like them.


However, the mountain of professional international quality was till high for the Cambodian press to clamp and that required a lot of work to be done. Instead of providing “news” some newspapers was still seen as a press that was filled mostly by opinion pieces, novels, folktales, poems, educational materials and even some pornography. The role as a watchdog was still tough and unsatisfactorily accomplished. Some journalists were murdered, injured, sued, arrested or jailed for defamation while pursuing this important role. For instance, five human rights activists and journalists were arrested and jailed in the late 2005 and early 2006.  The arrest of the editor-in-chief, Dam Sith and the murder of the reporter of the opposition paper in 2008. As the result, the Reporters Without Border lowered the Cambodia's ranking from 78th in 2007 to 126th of the 173th in 2008.


Some Major Events:


  • 18 Oct 2003:

Chuor Chetharith, a journalist for the pro-FUNCIPEC Ta Prohm Radio FM 90.5 was shot dead in front of his office in Phnom Penh. The murder took place after the station broadcasted critical comments against the government.


  • 2003:

The world-wide index of press freedom by Reporters Without Borders ranked Cambodia 81 of 166 countries listed. 


  • 2003:

There were 13 cases of lawsuits, suspension and arrest.


  • 2004:

There were 14 cases of lawsuits, suspension and arrest.


  • 11 Oct 2005:

Mam Sonando, 64, Director of Beehive Radio FM 105, was accused of criticized the government and arrested after this station broadcasted an interview with border expert criticizing border treaty.


  • 2 Dec 2005:

Hang Sokhan, editor of occasional newspaper Ponleu Samaki, was arrested following a criminal defamation suit against the paper by Ven Yoeun who was a state prosecutor after this paper published an article alleged Yoeun took bribe in a land dispute case.


  • 2005:

There were 209 print media registered with the Ministry of Information, but only around 10 of them were published regularly.


  • 2005:

The world-wide index of press freedom by Reporters Without Borders ranked Cambodia at 90 of 167 countries listed.


  • 21 April 2006:

Prime Minister Hun Sen announced that defamation by media will no longer result in imprisonment of journalists.


  • In 2006

There were eight daily local newspapers and about five weekly ones active.  It is important to note that beside these regular newspapers, there were some irregular or well wisher ones, as they were known, running too such as Sahasavath Thmey (New Millennium), Sor ning Khmao (White and Black) and Nisith Khmer (Khmer Students).

  1. Rasmei Kampuchea (light of Cambodia), daily
  2. Koh Santepheap (Island of Peace), daily
  3. Kampuchea Thmey (New Cambodia), daily
  4. Kampuchea Thngai Nih (Cambodia Today), daily
  5. Chakraval (Universe), daily
  6. Samleng Yuvachon Khmer (Voice of Khmer Youth), daily
  7. Moneaksekar Khmer (Khmer Conscience), daily
  8. Sralanh Khmer (Love Khmer), daily
  9. Khmer Mekong, weekly
  10. Samne Thmey (New Writing), weekly
  11. Reasmei Angkor (Light of Angkor), weekly
  12. Areyathor (Civilization), weekly
  13. Wat Phnom, weekly

  • 2006:

The world-wide index of press freedom by Reporters Without Borders ranked Cambodia at 108 of 168 countries listed.


  • 2007:

The world-wide index of press freedom by Reporters Without Borders ranked Cambodia at 85 of 169 countries listed.


  • 8 June 2008:

Dam Sith, Editor-in-Chief of Moneaseka Khmer was arrested by the police after this newspaper published article quoted allegations about the current foreign minister by the opposition leader Sam Rainsy.


  • 11 July 2008:

Khem Sambo, a reporter for a Khmer-language newspaper daily Moneakseka Khmer was shot dead while riding a motorcycle with his 21 year old son who was also killed by unidentified gunmen near the Olympic stadium.