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Cambodian Newspaper Project: K - L

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.

Kamlang Sethakech Thmei / Kamlāṃṅ Seṭdhakicc Thmī / កម្លាំងសេដ្ឋកិច្ចថ្មី

Kamlang Sethakech Thmei began in 1994 and published twice-monthly in Khmer language with some selective articles. According to a survey conducted in 1995 by Judith Clarke from Journalism Department of Hong Kong Baptist College, the paper ran with a circulation of 429. It is believed that the paper ceased publication sometimes in the 1990s as no update information could be traced during this research. Perhaps, it is also worthwhile mentioning that the paper does not appear in the current list by the Ministry of Information posted on its website. This certainly indicates that the paper is no longer in operations, but the exact date is unknown and no source has confirmed this.

 

It is quite different from other local Khmer language newspapers; Kamlang Sethakech Thmei aimed at providing its readership with Cambodian business and economic related news. The paper itself also claimed that it was the first Cambodian Economic Business newspapers that provided comprehensive supplier of business resources and economic analysis in the Cambodian language. It also claimed that its readership included customers, investors, economists, entrepreneurs, senior government officials and tourists.  According to the available issues held by Yale University Library, the claim seemed to be true.  The paper heavily covered by news reports on business and economic related topics. It is also interesting to point out that the paper grabbed quite a bit of advertising too. Another interesting note was that there was no coverage on politics, at least according to those available issues.

Kampuchea / Kambujā / កម្ពុជា

Kampuchea is the official and a party newspaper established in 1984. The founding-editor of the paper was Khieu Kanharith andThat Ly Hok was an editor-assistant. The paper was printed weekly and later became the country’s most influential paper in the 1980s and early 1990s. The first issue was published with a circulation of 5,000. The circulation rose to 500,000 and was distributed among the communist cadre free of charge.

 

In the 1980s the paper provided coverage for both local and international news that included economic, politic and war news reports from battle field. It had deployed its correspondents in all provinces. The paper the official and the strongest the political propaganda of the Phnom Penh government against Democratic Kampuchea and the other two Khmer factions headed by King Norodom Sihanouk and Son San.

 

The paper has been strictly controlled by the party not the state. Both editors had served as a victim of his own writing. Kanharith and Ly Hok got into trouble after the paper criticized Kandal cadre who grabbed land from the poor in 1990 and consequently Kanharith was dismissed. That Ly Hok himself also was accused by Hun Sen of causing conflict with the mayor’s office after he published the photos of the mayor of Kampong Som in the Kampuchea in 1990. Ly Hok took photos of the mayor during a seminar. The mayor sent his armed men to demand the film as he was concerned that Ly Hok would publish them, but Ly Hok denied.  

 

The paper is still functioning as propaganda of the Cambodian People’s Party (CPP), but is not as nationwide powerful as it used to be.

 

Perhaps it is also worthwhile mentioning that after the general election in 1993, Kanharith was appointed as Secretary of State for the Ministry of Information and also in next government and int eh third term of the government(2008-2013), he was promoted as the Minister.

Kampuchea Pachobon / Kambujā Paccuppann / កម្ពុជាបច្ចុប្បន្ន

Kampuchea Pachobon began in 1996 as a weekly newspaper. The current list by the Ministry of Information posted on its website (February, 2012) also shows that the paper is published four issues per month but is under a new publisher, Khov Kimchhuon, and with a circulation of 2,000. Unfortunately, Yale University Library holds only one issue of the paper, which was the first issue published on March 10, 1996.

 

It is very difficult to explain the coverage as well as to judge the political affiliation of the paper based on just a single issue in hands without any other sources confirming on this. However, perhaps Kampuchea Pachobon is not different from most local papers that provide coverage for national news only and is often on the social and political issues. Additionally, most reports and analysis were not based on facts but often was based on personal opinions.

Khmer Angkor News / Sābartamān Khmaer Qaṅgar / សារពត៌មានខ្មែរអង្គរ

Khmer Angkor News is published weekly in black and white with four pages length. The first issue was published in 1995 covering July 27th/28th. Homepage of the Ministry of Information (2012) shows that the paper is heading by Mr Heng Samoeun but still published weekly with a circulation of 3,000 copies.

 

According to its early issues held by Yale, the paper covered local news report, a literary column on novel and poem, a history column on Khmer history, a cartoon and the editorial section. The local news report focused mainly on the social and political issues and the activities related to the senior government officials, mainly the FUNCINPEC members. For instance, Prince Norodom Ranaridh, who was then the president of the Party, appeared in most issues. The irregular cartoon and its editorials were often critical of the social issues, politicians and the senior government’s officials.  Additionally, its cartoons and editorials were also strongly anti-Vietnamese and the Hanoi government. There is no source confirmed on its political alignment, but its ton of those earlier issues seemed to have weighted on the royalist party. The current stand of the paper is unknown.

Khmer Ideals* / Utṭamgati Khmaer / ឧត្តមគតិខ្មែរ

The paper began in 1992. A survey conducted in 1995 by Judith Clarke from Journalism Department of Hong Kong Baptist College explains that the paper was printed twice-weekly with a circulation of 1,143 copies. Another survey conducted in 2002 by a group of students from the National University of Management shows that the paper was printed daily with a circulation of 1,100. The current list by the Ministry of Information posted on its website (February, 2012) shows that the paper is currently being published daily with a circulation of 4,000 copies.  

 Perhaps it is interesting to mention about the changes of the paper’s publishers and editors happened over time. The earliest issue of the paper held by Yale University Library, which was issue 15 published on July 17, 1993 listed Hor Sopheap as a publisher and Nonn Chan as the editor-in-chief of the paper. Later in that year, Nonn Chan left Khmer Ideals and became a publisher of the Voice of Khmer Youth. In September 1994, he was gunned down in central Phnom Penh by unidentified gunmen. The issue 47 of the paper published on September 1 & 2, 1994 listed: 1). Kem Sambo as a general director; 2). Thun Bunly was a publisher; 3). Thach Ket was an editor-in-chief; and 4) Hor Sopheap became a political advisor of the paper. Then, issue 76 published on June 27, 1995 with Taing Sarak as the editor-in-chief of the paper. In that same year, the issue 120 published on December 27 & 28 listed Mao Sokhon as a publisher and editor-in-chief of the paper.  According to Mehta (1997)Thun Bunly was gunned down by unidentified assailant about 200 meters from his home in Phnom Penh on May 18, 1996. According to issue 656 of the paper published on October 17, 1999, the paper was published under a new publisher, Chann Sok Hor. According to Mehta (1997) Hen Phearak claimed he was also the editor of the paper between 1992 and 1993. A survey conducted in 2002 by a group of students from the National Institute of Management listed Pov Hor as the publisher and editor of the paper. However, the current list by the Ministry of Information interestingly listed Hor Sokleng as a publisher and editor-in-chief o f the paper.

 

Khmer Ideals was originally established by a high-ranking official of the Buddhist Liberal Democratic Party, but had no connection to the party (Marston, 1996, p.220). The paper has been very well-known as an opposition paper. Thun Bunly was a member of the Khmer Front Party led by a former finance Minister, Sam Rainsy who later found Sam Rainsy Party, named after him. The paper had run a strong editorial line against the government. The paper was pretty much filled with opinion piece and critical analysis and commentary against the government and the senior government officials. For example an edition on May 11, 1996 of the paper ran a headline that read “Hun Sen chokes on US dollars”. The paper also alleged the Prime Minister of being a puppet of Vietnam. It is important to point out that the death of Thun Bunly May 1996 highly attracted attention from the general public and especially the Prime Minister Hun Sen. He commented in a public speech that the death this journalist had created an attempt to assassinate his children in France and the US. He said he had a tape of a phone conversation from France to Phnom Penh on plotting the murder of his two children in France. He also warned to the plotters to drop the idea because he got all the evidence. So, none of them would not be able to escape if they ever dared to kill his children.

 

There has no source confirmed the current political stand and affiliation of the paper. Plus, the lack of the current issues of the paper in hand did help during the research with any prediction or judgment on the current political editorial line of the paper at all.

Khmer Neutral Press / Sārbartamān Khmaer Qabyākẏt / សារពត៌មានខ្មែរអព្យាក្រឹត

The paper began in 1993, but the earliest issue held by Yale University Library is number 12. It is important to point out that Khmer Neutral Press is one of the papers that have survived through today. According to a survey conducted in 1995 by Judith Clarke, Journalism Department of Hong Kong Baptist College, the paper was printed weekly with a circulation as small as 143. However, the current list by the Ministry of Information posted on its homepage shows that the paper is published two issues per week with a circulation as high as 5,000 copies. The ministry list shows that Nuon Satya is the current publisher of the paper. Therefore, it might be worthwhile pointing out that Kea Soy was printed on the paper as a publisher while Thab Thae was an editor-in-chief starting from its earliest issue. However, starting from issue number 13, Ty Chhin who was a technical support became an editor-in-chief but from issue number 27 on only Kea Soy was listed as a publisher of the paper. Clarke (1995) also explains about the background of this publisher and editor-in-chief that Kea Soy had no journalism experience in journalism at all but he went into the field for political reasons.

 

The same as other local Khmer language newspaper, according to the current holdings of the paper at Yale University Library, Khmer Neutral Press provided coverage for local news that mainly related to social and political issues. However, an opinion based political report was outweigh the social headlines. The reports as well as its irregular cartoons were highly critical of the government and senior government officials and especially the Co-Prime Ministers, Prince Norodom Rannariddh and Samdech Hun Sen. Besides the paper also had a strong tone against Vietnam and Vietnamese government.

 

It is important to point out that the survey by Clarke (1995) also shows that Khmer Neutral Press was a party newspaper owned by Khmer Neutral Party. It was one of the party competed in the national general election administered by the UNTAC in 1993. However, there is no updating information about the current political stand or affiliation of the paper during this research.

Khmer Soul / Bralẏṅ Khmaer / ព្រលឹងខ្មែរ

Khmer Soul is one of the oldest Khmer language newspapers that was established during the UNTAC’s era and has survived through today. Unfortunately, Yale University Library holds only one issue, the first issue of the paper, published on April 30, 1993. Based on the information that 1st issue, the paper was printed 10,000 copies and sold at 400 Riel per copy. A survey conducted in 2003 by a group of students from the National Institute of Management as reported by Jarvis and Arfanis (2004) shows that the paper published weekly with a circulation of 1,500 copies. Additionally, the current list by the Ministry of Information as posted on its homepage (February, 2012) shows that the paper is being published 20 issues per month with a circulation of 5,000 copies.

 

There was no source explaining the coverage of the paper, but according to its first issue held by Yale it seems that this paper was heavily filled with opinion and educational piece rather than the actual news. In addition to the local social and political issues, some pieces were about the international issues.

 

Similarly, there was no source confirming the political stand and affiliation of the paper. Also, it is impossible to make judgment based on a single issue of the paper. However, it is worthwhile mentioning that Mr. Lach Samroeung who is a publisher of Sakal News, a CPP affiliated paper, is a member of the founding team of Khmer Soul.

Kingdom News* / Sārbartamān Nagarrāj / សារពត៌មាននគររាជ

The paper began in late 1995. Yale University Library holds some issues include the earliest one is issue no. 3 published for December 26-27, 1995. There was no information about its circulation during those early years of the publication. However, the current list by the Ministry of Information posted on its website (February, 2012) shows that the paper is in operation and is published twice-weekly with a circulation of 2,500 copies. It is also important to point out that the list also shows that the current publisher of the paper is Mr. Hang Soprath.

 

According to the available issues in hand, the same as other local Khmer language newspapers, The Kingdom News provides coverage for only local news and especially the social and political issues. The social issue is primarily the reported on crimes and violence while the political issue is mainly about the activities of the senior government officials as well as the prominent politicians. Noticeably, the paper is highly critical of the opposition leaders and party. Additionally, the paper also provides with a literary section of novel two novel fictions. Because of an absence of the current issue, it is hard to know if the paper still stays with the same coverage or has changed.

 

Despite no source has confirmed the real political affiliation of the paper, according to those available issues, it seems that the paper strongly supports the government and especially the Cambodian People’s Party (CPP). However, it is not sure of the current political stand and affiliation of the paper due to an absence of the current issues and also no current source has confirmed on this.

Koh Santepheap Daily / Koaḥ Santibhāb / កោះសន្តិភាព

Koh Santepheap was first found in 1968 and survived through Sihanouk Regime, Lon Nol, but was closed down during Khmer Rouge regime. Mr Chou Thany was a director then and was killed during Khmer Rouge regime. The paper was first pro-Sihanouk, but later its editorial line changed to support Lon Nol. However, it postponed for one day to observe a political situation before handed its support to Lon Nol. It was the country's largest paper in the regime. The other two largest were Nokor Thom & Khmer Ekareach and they did the same to survive (Mehta, 1997).

 

After 20 years of absence, the paper was republished in late January 1993 by Thong Uypang who is the owner and a former editor of the paper during the Khmer Republic. The first 12 page section of the paper is committed to current political news while the second section between 13 to 20 pages is allocated for display and classified ads as well as color picture. It is considered to be the second largest Khmer language paper after Rasmei Kampuchea Daily.

 

Koh Santepheap Daily has always been considered as a Cambodia People’s Party affiliated paper with a number of its reporters work for the Ministry of Interior. Khieu Navy, an editor of the paper, sits on the 'writers committee' of the CCP's own member-only the Pracheachun Magazine publication. In addition to its pro-CPP's line, the paper is also best known for its tabloidstyle reportage and grisly photos of crime news.

 

The local human rights organization, LICADHO, reported in 2009 that Thong Uypang was targeted twice in violence. In October 1997, his house was attacked by grenades and in June 1998, he was shot and wounded by two bullets at a temple near Phnom Penh. The paper accused powerful politicians in the government then of being behind the attack.

Kork Thlork* / Gok Dhlak / គោកធ្លក

The paper began in March 1993. It was named after the first name of Cambodia in prior to the first century. According to a survey conducted in 1995 by Judith Clarke from Journalism Department of Hong Kong Baptist College, the paper was printed weekly with a circulation as small as 429. There was no further information and update about the newspaper found during the research. Perhaps, it important to point out that the paper is not listed in the current list by the Ministry of Information posted on its website (February, 2012). This certainly indicates that the paper is no longer in operations, but the exact date is unknown.

 

The same as other local Khmer language newspapers, Kork Thlork provided coverage for only local news. The features often included news reports, editorial comments, cartoons and a literary section that included novel, song scripts, poem and short stories. Political topic was the main coverage of the paper that often reported on the activities of the senior government officials. The paper claimed to be an independent, but it was not believable if taking into account the nature of how Cambodian newspapers were established in Cambodia.

Latest News (The)* / Ṭaṃṇẏṅ Cuṅ kroy / ដំណឹងចុងក្រោយ

The Latest News was published twice-weekly and weekly in black and white with four page length that sold at 400 Riel per copy. According to the survey by Clarke (1995) its circulation was 1,429 copies. The Ministry of Information currently (as at January 2012) does not list this paper on its website. This often means that the paper is no longer in operation. Practically, a newspaper must obtain a license before it can begin publishing. Those licensed media organizations are currently available to the public through the Ministry of Information website at www.information.gov.kh.

 

According to those earlier issues held by Yale, social issues and a literary were the two main coverage of the paper. The social issues included robberies, daily life, conflict, natural disaster and the issues related to malfunction and ineffectiveness of the government institutions and officials. The literary section provided two fictions and a poem. It is not clear on the political stand or affiliation of the paper while largely it is known that the Cambodian local papers depend on patrons or parties to survive. One interesting thing comes out of those earlier issues was its strong criticism of another paper, the Morning News, when its publisher was arrested for an article published based on source of international media that alleged Chea Sim and Sar Kheng were behind the coup d’etat in 1993. Chea Sim is the President of the Cambodian People Party and then the house speaker while Sar Kheng is a deputy prime minister and an interior minister and then was also then the interior minister.

Lion Roar* / Samraek Rājasīh ̊/ សម្រែករាជសីហ៏

The paper began in 1994. No further information about the paper had found during the research. The current list by the Ministry of Information posted on its website, www.information.gov.kh, also does not provide any information about the paper. Therefore, it is very likely that the paper ceased publications. However, the exact date and confirmed source is unknown. Nonetheless, it is important to point out that in Cambodia, it is required by law that all newspapers must have obtained license from and registered with the Ministry of Information before starting publishing.

 

Yale University Library holds very small number issues of the paper only, one issue of the paper in 1994 and six issues in 1995. There was no source explaining about the coverage of the paper as well as the political affiliation of the paper found during this research. However, those available issues in hands tell that the paper provided coverage for only national news, especially on the social and political related issues. The social issue was often reported on crime and violence such robberies, murder, traffic accidents and so on while the political coverage was often reported on the issues related to the government, senior government officials, prominent politicians and the key political parties won seat in the general election in 1993. Noticeably, those articles were mainly the opinion piece of commentary and analysis without sufficient facts and evidence. It was also noted from those available issues that the editorial line of the paper seemed to have been soft toward the ruling CPP party.