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Phnom Penh Post's sale to PR director increases media freedom fears

A Cambodian woman reads a copy of the English-language newspaper The Phnom Penh Post at a news stand in Phnom Penh on August 8, 2008.Symbol copyright
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Based in 1992, The Submit has been described as an “unbiased and important” newspaper

A newspaper observed as Cambodia’s ultimate unbiased English day-to-day has been bought to a Malaysian businessman, sparking recent considerations about press freedom.

The Phnom Penh Submit’s new proprietor is Sivakumar Ganapthy, director of a PR company which has in the past accomplished paintings for the Cambodian authorities.

He has stated he’s going to uphold the Submit’s legacy and editorial independence.

However the sale comes amidst an expanding crackdown on unbiased media retailers, forward of a common election in July.

The Cambodia Day-to-day, every other unbiased newspaper, was once ultimate 12 months compelled to near after it gained a $6.3m (£four.7m) tax invoice that it will now not pay.

Different unbiased media retailers have additionally reportedly been accused of now not complying with tax tasks. US government-funded Radio Unfastened Asia not too long ago closed its bureau in Phnom Penh bringing up a “relentless crackdown” on unbiased media by way of High Minister Hun Sen.

  • Was once the closure of the Cambodia Day-to-day politically-motivated?

The previous proprietor of the Phnom Penh Submit, Australian Invoice Clough, showed the sale of the paper on Saturday, blaming falling promoting revenues.

He recognized the patron as Sivakumar G, and stated he was once “a smartly revered newspaper guy”.

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AFP

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Hun Sen has been high minister in Cambodia for greater than 3 many years

The paper had in the past been ordered by way of government to pay a tax invoice of $three.9m, however Mr Clough stated this were resolved as a part of the deal.

The sale has raised considerations within the journalism group about press freedom because the election approaches.

The retailers that have confronted issues had steadily reported on subjects equivalent to corruption and human rights abuses that embarrassed the federal government of Hun Sen, who has been high minister for 33 years.

Former Phnom Penh Submit editor-in-chief Chad Williams stated it was once transparent the federal government authorized of the sale.

“From the out of doors having a look in, probably the most troubling factor is the timing of the tax invoice’s agreement and the Submit’s next sale. The chances of them now not being attached appear extremely far off,” he instructed Reuters.

“That is troubling as it suggests the Cambodian authorities can have used the specter of a shutdown to actually coerce the sale,” he stated.

Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director for Human Rights Watch, stated there was once “no believable trade rationale for an difficult to understand Malaysian public family members company to shop for this newspaper, apart from to hunt regulate for elite Cambodian buddies”.

“This looks as if the start of the tip for the Phnom Penh Submit as an unbiased and important newspaper.”

Huy Vannak, undersecretary of state on the Internal Ministry, instructed Reuters the sale was once “commonplace trade” and that the Submit “stays a newspaper”.

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