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Cambodian Newspaper Project: W - Z

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.

Universe (The) / Cakravāļ / ចក្រវាឡ

According to a directory published by the Konrad Adenauer Foundation in 2007, the paper is published five times weekly in black and white with an average of four page lengths and a circulation of 8,000 copies. A survey conducted by Clarke in 1995 shows that the paper was published twice weekly with a circulation of over 3,000 copies. However, a survey conducted by Jarvis and Arfanis in 2004 and a current list publically published on the Ministry of Information website shows The Universe as a daily paper with circulation of 4,000 copies.

 

The same as other Cambodian local papers, The Universe features news reports on political topics and a literary section that provides a novel fiction and poem. However, it primary coverage is heavily on crime stories.  The Universe is a Cambodian People Party affiliated paper.

Voice of Khmer People / Samleṅ Balraṭṭh Khmaer / សម្លេងពលរដ្ឋខ្មែរ

Voice of Khmer People published its first issue on 19-20 December 1993. A research conducted by Clarke (1995) shows that the paper was published twice-weekly with a circulation of 1,000 copies. However, it is important to point out that the paper is not listed in the list of media organizations on the Ministry of Information’s homepage (January, 2012). This certainly indicates that the paper is very likely not in operation.

 

According to those early issues held by Yale University Library, the paper provided coverage for only local news that focused primarily on the social and political issues. Some critical coverage of social issues were robberies, murders and traffic accidents while the political ones often reported on the activities of the senior government officials activities and especially the Co-Prime Ministers. Some political reports were also strongly anti-opposition party and its leaders. Moreover, the paper also included with an irregular cartoon that was often critical of the social issues and anti-opposition. The paper also provided a literary section with one or two fictions and a poem. It is also necessary to mention that this paper was also filed with an irregular and inappropriate image of pornography.

 

There was no source confirmed on the political stand of the paper, but according to those available issues, the paper seemed to have aligned with the government and what was obvious was that this paper was strongly anti-opposition voice in the country.

Watphnom News (The) / Sārbartamān Vatt Bhnaṃ / សារព័ត៌មានវត្តភ្នំ

The second issue of the paper covered for 13-14 December 1994. There was no information about its circulation volume during that early stage, but the current list posted on the Ministry of Information website (February, 2012) shows that its circulation is 3,000 copies.  The list also shows that paper printed issue per week and according to those early issues [1994-1996] held by Yale University Library, this is certainly true. However, a report by a local human rights organization, LICADHO, in 2009 shows the paper printed six issues per week while a handbook for Cambodia journalists produced by a group of Cambodian and non-Cambodian journalists funded by USAID in 2007 listed the paper among those daily ones. This could have been easily confirmed if the actual print copy of the paper is accessible. It is also worthwhile to mention that the current list of media organizations posted on the Ministry of Information homepage listed Rin Rattanak as a publisher.

 

As for the coverage of the paper, it is very much similar to other local Khmer language papers. But what was obvious as shown by those earlier issues held by Yale University Library, the paper was pretty heavily filled by opinion and political reports. Those reports were often highly critical of the government and especially the co-prime ministers – Prince Norodom Ranariddh and Hun Sen. There is no source confirmed on its current political affiliation, which commonly happens to most local Khmer language newspaper, but the paper was known as a pro-Sam Rainsy Party.

Water, Land and Mankind / Dẏk Ṭī niṅ Manuss / ទឹក​​ ដី និងមនុស្ស

The paper was founded in 1993. The paper itself stated that it was printed 1,200 copies and sold at 400 Riel per copy. There was no information about the paper was found during the course of this research. Also, the current list by the Ministry of Information posted on its website (February, 2012) does not provide any information about the paper. Therefore, it is very likely that the paper is not in operations. However, no specific date and source has confirmed on this.

 

Yale University Library holds only two issues of the paper that were published in May and July 1993. Based on those two issues, the paper provided for only national coverage on social and political issues. The social issues often included crimes and violence while the political issue was often very critical to the politicians, senior government officials, government and especially the two Prime Ministers. There was no source confirming the political stand of the paper, but an interesting note from the paper itself it seemed that the paper was a pro Mr Penh Sovann who claimed to be a founder of the Khmer nationalist force that overthrew Khmer Rouge and who a Prime Minister in early 1980s.

Wild Buffalo* / Krapī Brai / ក្របីព្រៃ

The Wild Buffalo is a weekly Khmer language newspaper printed in black and white with four page length. The first issues printed on 23 September 1993. The homepage of the Ministry of Information (2011) shows that the paper no longer in operation. However, when exactly the paper ceased is unclear.

 

The main coverage of the paper included local news report, Khmer literary, and the editorial commentary. The news report covered mainly social and political issues and the activities related to the senior government officials, the parliamentarians and the king. The literary included a novel and poem sections. The editorials were highly critical of the social and political issues. The paper also provided a cartoon that was critical of the social and political issues. In some issues, selected world news reports were included. There was no commercial advertisement published in the paper.

 

There is no confirmed source indicate the political affiliation of the paper, but its earlier issues seems to strongly back HE Sam Rainsy, the Minister of Finance then and now is the head of the opposition party “Sam Rainsy Party”. It is important to note that Mr Nun Chan, publisher and editor-in-chief of the paper was shot dead by unidentified gunmen in the Phnom Penh on 6 September 1994 when he was then the editor-in-chief of the Voice of the Khmer Youth. The report by the Committee to Protect Journalists (2011) explains that prior to his murder, he received several official warnings and also anonymous death threats for his reporting on the government corruption.

Youth / Yuvajan / យុវជន

It was one of the papers established during the UNTAC era. According to a survey conducted in 1995 by Judith Clarke from Journalism Department of Hong Kong Baptist College the paper published weekly with a circulation as small as 143. There was no further information about the paper found during this research, but it is believed that the paper ceased publication sometime during the 1990s, but there was no source confirming when exactly it was. It might also helpful to know that the paper is not in the current list by the Ministry of Information posted on its website either (February, 2012).

 

The same as other typical Khmer language newspaper, Yuvajan provided coverage for only local news that included social and political issues. The social issues often reported about crimes and violence while the political issue was often on the activities of the senior government officials and politicians. The paper also provided an edutainment section with a novel fiction and poem.

 

There was no source found to confirm on the political affiliation of the paper. Based on the articles in those available issues, the paper seemed to have thrown its editorial line behind the government. It might be worthwhile mentioning that one of the senior advisors to the Prime Hun Sen and who is also a senior official within the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport also named Sean Borath. However, there was no source confirming this connection. It is very typical that in Cambodia the newspaper has been used by politicians as a stepping stone for pursuing their political career.