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Friday, August 25, 2017

Outcry at Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen's Bid to Shut Down Independent Media

Key Speakers and Interviews At The World Economic Forum for Asean
Hun Sen, Cambodia's prime minister, during the World Economic Forum in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on June 1, 2016. Charles Pertwee—Bloomberg/Getty Images

Outcry at Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen's Bid to Shut Down Independent Media

TIME | 24 August 2017

Journalists and human rights advocates have slammed the Cambodian government's threats to close renowned local paper The Cambodia Daily and two U.S. funded independent radio stations as a barely veiled attempt to muzzle dissent in the run up to next year's national elections.

On Monday, Cambodia threatened to shutter the English-language newspaper if it failed to pay a $6.3 million tax bill by Sept. 4, the Guardian reports. “If you don’t pay taxes, pack your bag and leave,” Prime Minister Hun Sen said referring to The Daily, which he also called a "thief."

Deborah Krisher-SteeleThe Daily's deputy publisher, said the $6.3 million bill had been arrived at arbitrarily and without subjecting the company to an audit. “This is clearly a tax bill that is not meant to be paid but whose purpose is to close down The Cambodia Daily,” she told a reporter at the paper.

On Twitter, Robin McDowell, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and one of The Daily's founders described the targeting of the paper as a "heartbreaking smackdown on free press." Human Rights Watch's deputy Asia director Phil Robertson tweeted that Cambodia "should expect a grilling by other member states for serious rights violations."

It's been nearly 25 years since I went to Cambodia w Barton Biggs to start The Daily. Now this. Heartbreaking smackdown on free press. https://t.co/loUFJ6aEQk 
 - robin mcdowell (@robinmcdowell) August 23, 2017 

One of the world's most notorious autocrats, former Khmer Rouge commander Hun Sen has ruled Cambodia for three decades. As the country's 2018 general election draws closer, he appears to be further cracking down on criticism.


His government has accused U.S.-funded broadcasters Radio Free Asia and Voice of America of tax violations and of operating with improper licenses. Earlier this month he ordered a U.S. charity to leave the country after accusing it of exaggerating the scale of sex trafficking in the country during an interview aired on CNN. And on Wednesday, the U.S.-based nonprofit the National Democratic Institute was ordered to stop operations in Cambodia. Its staff have been given one week to leave the country for allegedly not following registration requirements.

The CEO of the Broadcasting Board of Governors John F. Lansing said in a statement Wednesday that the Cambodian government's crackdown on key FM radio stations "is part of a pattern of intimidation and harassment of independent news sources that coincides with the run up to the 2018 elections."

"At least one station has been intimidated into indefinitely ceasing broadcast of any RFA and VOA content, and another station has been completely shut down," he continued. "We call on the Cambodian government to reverse this decision to muzzle objective sources of news and to allow all impacted stations to resume normal operations immediately."

11 comments:

  1. Anonymous3:56 AM

    With his two big communist brothers (Vietnam and China) behind him, Hun Sen is not afraid of the USA or anybody anymore. He thinks he is protected and untouchable. But history shows that Vietnam and China are not trusted big brothers. What they are doing is using this crazy dog Hun Sen to benefit their own countries and in the process to suck Cambodia dry of all its natural resources. How can khmers be so stupid? Why can't they all stand up together united to protest against this khmer traitor? Why nobody even try to get rid of him once during the more than 30 years of his rule? That's why he thinks he is God, above all the laws, and khmer people are his slaves. How can this be allowed to continue? Why nobody even try once to get rid of him? It's beyond basic comprehension.

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  2. Anonymous6:45 AM

    Hun Sen has turned to the dark side. Actually, he's been in the dark side all his life. This dog has a very dark heart. Karma will ensure that his children and grand children will suffer greatly from his sins.

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  3. Anonymous6:52 AM

    Yeah, to have two big communist brothers is very dangerous. It's almost certain that one day, Hun Sen will be taken down by one of his communist brothers. All his family members will be exiled or burned to death. What goes around, comes around. That's karma. Hun Sen, with billions of dollars you have stolen from Cambodia, is it still not enough?

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  4. Anonymous6:55 AM

    Many Cambodians can't wait to see him die like Sadam Husein - through hanging. His animal corrupted family has to go too. They have abused Cambodians for too long.

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  5. Anonymous6:58 AM

    The only way to get rid of an animal like Hun Sen is to have the entire country stands up against him. Unfortunately, Cambodians are to chicken to do anything like that. That's why Hun Sen can continue treating Cambodians like slaves for more than 30 years. No other country on earth can tolerate that.

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  6. Anonymous7:01 AM

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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    Replies
    1. Anonymous7:04 AM

      This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

      Delete
    2. Anonymous9:12 AM

      Every time China supports some regime, that regime turns communist dictator to the extreme. Remember Khmer Rouge? They modeled after Mao's farming commune and millions died, many more were traumatized.

      Remember China's support to Khmer Rouge at Thai border and the extended civil war? Who fed the Khmer Rouge, who armed them?

      You all have betrayed your loved-ones, those who died under the Khmer Rouge. You played trick with their lost souls by drumming up anti-Vietnam propaganda.

      Delete
    3. Anonymous10:04 AM

      9:12 AM - signed: Minh Nguyen [with picture to be provided soon].

      Delete
    4. Anonymous5:23 AM

      Lie, you have no picture.

      Delete
    5. Anonymous7:36 AM

      We will see who you are Gunzet or shall we call say Minh Nguyen? Meantime you can go ahead delete your picture because we have a copy already...

      Delete