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Cambodian Newspaper Project: 2008 - 2013: 4th 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.

2008 - 2013: 4th Royal Government of Cambodia

Overview:

 

Cambodian press is continued to be seen as the freest press in the region while steady improvement and development has continuously made. One important development during this period is the rise of the internet media as the internet access becomes much affordable. This new news medium is highly popular among the new generation and it also makes the Cambodians living abroad conveniently stay connected with the current development of Cambodia.

 

Another important development is the international media cooperation and collaboration at a national level between countries in the indo-china as well as in the Asian region. For exaample, the collaboration between the Thai and Cambodian journalists.The support and collaboration from China and South Korea and so on. Another national effort that has been pushed forward by the Ministry of Information is to assign a spokesperson and a media person for the government ministry, agency and institution at national, provincial and district level to ensure the accessibility, accurate and consistent information provided to the public. Several training courses on a protocol and spokesperson and media person have been conducted for the government ministry and agency officials.  

 

Despite these current developments, the Cambodian press is still facing numerous challenges such as financial viability, legal actions, threats and intermediation, and violence. For instance, most local newspapers still depends on the financial support from patrons and party while revenue generated from advertisement and sale volume is close to none except those major ones like Raksmei Kampuchea, Koh Santipheap and Kampuchea Thmey. Subscription practice has not been a habit for Cambodian readers yet.

 

Cambodian journalists are still divisive and is commonly categorized into three groups – pro-government, pro-opposition and the independent who works for international news agencies. It has been observed that the opposition papers voice become smaller and smaller. Some of them have been under attacked and pressured for being too critical and anti-government while some defected to the CPP. For instance, the Khmer Conscience was ordered to shut down by the government and its editor-in-chief was jailed despite later were released and the paper was reopened in 2009. The Voice of Khmer Youth was defected to FUNCINPEC in 2003 and then to CPP in 2008 and the same as Sralanh Khmer. Now the publishers of both papers are serving as Undersecretary of States with the Ministry of Information.

 

There were two lawsuits were filed in 2009 against journalists under the UNTACT panel code while the 1995 Press Law was ignored as a numerous cases of threats, intermediation and violence against journalists took place. In late 2011, the Ministry of Information terminated licenses of 16 newspapers, 15 magazines and six bulletins that had not been active as explained by the Ministry. This certainly marked the largest gag in the history of Cambodian press. However, it was noticed that the foreign language newspapers owned by foreigners seems receive high tolerance and freely and straightly reports without any government intervention, especially the Chinese one that is in the rising tone.

 

Some Major Events:

 

  • 2008:

The world-wide index of press freedom by Reporters Without Borders ranked Cambodia at 126 of 173 countries listed.

 

 

  • 26 June 2009:

Hang Chakra, Editor-in-Chief of Khmer Machah Srok, was sentenced to 1 year jailed after a complain made by the Councils of Ministers over an article about the tension between Hun Sen and his No. 2, Sok An, that editor refused to name his source of information.

 

  • June 2009:

Moneakseka Khmer was shut down after it was threatened by authority to bring legal action again its editor-in-chief, Dam Sith. However, it was allowed to publish again about six months later.

 

  • October 2009:

 Ros Sokhet, freelance journalist, was charged with disseminating disinformation for sending a text message from his phone to Mr. Soy Sopheap, Publisher of Deum Apil News and a CTN TV commentator. 

 

  • 2009:

The world-wide index of press freedom by Reporters Without Borders ranked Cambodia at 117 of 175 countries listed.

 

  • By November 2010:

The total number of registered Khmer-language newspapers with the Ministry of Information was 226, non-Khmer language newspapers was 38, Khmer-language magazines was 150, and non-Khmer language magazines was 26. However, it is important to note that the actual circulated press was far smaller size than this number

 

  • 2010:

The world-wide index of press freedom by Reporters Without Borders ranked Cambodia at 128 of 178 countries listed.

 

  • By the end of 2011:

The total number of registered news organizations as classified by the Ministry of Information are 268 for local newspapers, 33 foreign newspapers, 154 local magazines and 25 foreign magazines. However, it is believed that the actual regular number is much smaller than this.