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Cambodian Newspaper Project: E - H

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.

Economy (The)* / Seṭṭhakicc / សេដ្ឋកិច្ច

The first issue of the newspaper was published on September 10, 1993. What was interesting noticing from this first issue was the year (volume) of publication of the paper. It should be year 1 (vol. 1), but instead it was year 22 (vol. 22). Not sure of the reason behind this and also there was no information found during this research to explain this. One of the guess of this could be that the paper [Sethakech News] was published sometime during the 1960s and/or the 1970s. However, no source could confirm this either.

 

According a survey conducted by Judith Clarke, Journalism Department, Hong Kong Baptist College, in 1995 show that the paper published twice-weekly with a circulation of 1,429. However, there was no provided further update on this found during the research, but what is interesting and important to point out here is that the paper is not listed on the list of media organization by the Ministry of Information posted on its homepage (February, 2012). This indicates that it is very likely that the paper is no longer in operation. However, when exactly it was is unknown.

 

It is also important to point out that according to those issues held by Yale University Library, the editor-in-chief, Keo Phum and the governor, Sok Samnang left the paper left Sethakech News in late 1994 to establish another paper, Damnoeung Thmei where Keo Phum was the publisher and editor-in-chief and Sok Samnang was the governor. After the death of Keo Phum, Samnang became the publisher and editor-in-chief of the paper that is still running to the present.

 

The available issues at Yale University Library also show that the paper provided coverage for only local news that filled with social issues and political pieces. The social issues included the crimes and violence while political ones were about the activities of the political leaders, government and senior government officials. The paper often criticized corrupt and inactive government officials who were mainly from the FUNCIPEC Party. In contrast, those were from the CPP often got applaused. The paper also often reported on negative topics related to Prince Norodom Rannardh but positive ones about Samdech Hun Sen. It is also important to point out that the paper was highly critical and attacking the opposition politicians and parties either through its commentary reports or cartoons.

Evening News / Ṭaṃṇẏṅ Bel Lṅāc / ដំណឹងពេលល្ងាច

Evening News began in 1998. Yale University Library holds only one issue of the paper, issue 505, published on March 26, 2000. There was no further information about the paper found during the research. The current list by the Ministry of Information posted on its website (February, 2012) also does not provide any information about the paper. Therefore, it is very likely that the paper ceased publication. However, the exact date remains unknown and no source has confirmed this.

 

According to the available issue in hands, the paper provided coverage for both national and internationals news. The national news covered social and political news. The social news included robberies, murder and other violence. The political news was often reported on the activities of the senior government officials and the government’s achievements. The paper dedicated a full-page length (page 6) for international coverage that provided with international brief on various issues around the world.

 

There was no source confirming the political affiliation of the paper, but it is important to point out that the paper, according to the available issue, committed almost its entire page 5 for printing the contents of a book written by Harish C. Mehta and his wife Julie B. Mehta entitled “HUN SEN: Strongman of Cambodia”. The book was translated into Khmer language by Te Soeun. Perhaps this could indicate that the Evening News is a CPP affiliated paper.

Farmer News (The)* / Sārbartamān qnak srae / សារពត៌មានអ្នក​ស្រែ

The paper began in January 1996. It was printed two issues a month. Yale University Library holds those earliest issues including the first issue published on January 17-18, 1996. There was no further information about the paper found during the course of this research while the current list by the Ministry of Information posted on its website (February, 2012) also does not provide any information about the paper. It is very likely that the paper no longer in operations, but the exact date is unknown and no source has confirmed this.

 

Very much the same as other local Khmer language newspapers, according to the available issues, The Farmer News provided coverage for only local news and mainly the political issues. Those available issues of the paper also show that the paper was heavily flooded with opinion based articles and analysis that lack of factual information or evidence and often strongly criticized and attacked on the opposition and the FUNCIPEC included its president, Prince Norodom Ranariddh who was then First Prime Minister. In contrast, the paper highly praised CPP and especially Samdech Hun Hen, then Second Prime Minister.

Fighter (The)* / Sārbartamān Qnak Prayuddh / សារពត៌មានអ្នកប្រយុទ្ទ

The first issue of the paper was published on November 10, 1995. There was no information on the circulation volume of the paper found during this research. The paper also does not show in the current list of the media organization posted on the Ministry of Information homepage (February, 2012). This certainly indicates that the paper is no longer functioning. However, when exactly is unknown.

 

Neak Pravuth is a political mouthpiece of the opposition voice that established around the time when the Khmer Nation Party, the opposition party was established. This party was headed by Sam Rainsy and because conflict of interest, the party later was split into two. One was headed by Nguon Soeu, former a member of board of directors of the FUNCINPEC and a deputy chief of the national police commissioner. Another group was headed by Sam Rainsy and later formed a new party named after his name – Sam Rainsy Party and now is the largest opposition party in the country. Neak Pravuth had continued to be the mouthpiece of this new political party.  

 

Because of its political nature of opposition, the paper mainly provided coverage for local political news and pretty much filled with opinion based articles that were the propaganda of the opposition party. The paper also strongly criticized the government and its senior officials and the ruling parties – FUNCIPEC and the Cambodian People’s Party (CPP).

 

It is important to point out that one of its reporters and also an advisor to the paper, Chet Duong daravuth was killed during the grenade attack on the peaceful demonstration led by Sam Rainsy, president of Sam Rainsy Party in 1997.

Forget News / Bhlec Tamnẏṅ / ភ្លេចដំណឹង

Forget News was a weekly bilingual Khmer-English language newspaper began in 1995 and was also closed in 1995. Physically, the paper was poorly organized on an A4 size paper and does not look like a newspaper at all. A big mistake of the layout was placing a Khmer name of the paper below the English and in smaller font size. In fact, to be legally appropriated the Khmer name should be placed on top of the English and with a larger font size.

 

Yale University Library holds only one issue of the paper. It was issue 5 published on November 26, 1995. With translation of each article placed side-by-side, the paper did not hold many articles at all. According to the available issue, the paper held only four headlines. Because of lacking information about the paper found, it is difficult to understand the coverage of the paper. The single available issue shows that the paper provided coverage for local news only. 

 

There was no source confirming the political affiliation of the paper. Perhaps, there was none. What was very interesting and odd about this paper, as claimed by both its publisher and editor-in-chief, was that in principle the paper would not criticize Khmer or Cambodian people at all, but foreigners and expats were the target. For instance, one of the highly critical articles of the paper was published on November 26, 1995 entitled “Mr Australian Ambassador likes criminals”.  The paper also criticized the Human Rights Representative of the United Nations in Cambodia on that same subject. Because of this report, Angkor Borei News (November 28-29, 1995) reported that Forget News was ordered to close down by the Ministry of Information. However, the ministry downplayed that the paper was closed down because it had no license.

Generation Force News* / Kamlāṃṅ Thmī / កម្លាំងថ្មី

Generation Force News was one of the papers established during the UNTAC era in the early 1993. A survey conducted by Judith Clarke, Media Department of Hong Kong Baptist College, shows that the paper was published twice weekly with a circulation of 943.  There was no updating information on this found during this research. Perhaps it is also worthwhile mentioning that the paper does not appear on the current list of media organization by the Ministry of Information posted on its homepage (January, 2012). This certainly indicates that the paper is no longer in operation, but when exactly is unknown.

 

According to those issues held by Yale University Library, the paper provided coverage for local news reports that mainly reported on local social and political issues. The paper also included with an irregular cartoon that were politically and socially critical. The paper also provided a historical piece and literary section. The historical piece in those early issues was about the Khmer Rouge related topics. It is also necessary to mention that pornography sometimes appeared in the paper.

 

There was no information about its political stand found during the research. However, according to those available issues show that the paper seemed to have strongly anti-government. It was noted that a number of reports in the paper were highly critical of Vietnam and the Vietnamese government.

 

It is also worthwhile to mentioning that, according to a research by Clarke in 1995,  Khieu Seng Kim was a brother of Khieu Samphan who was one of the top Khmer Rouge leaders. Khieu Seng Kim used to teach literature at Phnom Penh University and worked for Wattanakpheap (Progress) in the late 1960s and later moved to Koh Santepheap in 1969 where he became a director.