Ruling party eliminates critical media
Worried by the prospect of losing the July 2018 general elections after 30 years in power, Prime Minister Hun Sen launched a pre-emptive war against the media in which around 30 radio stations were silenced and Cambodia Daily, an English-language newspaper that had helped to nurture Cambodia’s fragile democracy, was forced to close. The last bastion of the independent press, the Phnom Penh Post, was bought by a Malaysian businessman with ties to the Cambodian government in May 2018. The pro-government editorial policies that he subsequently imposed were such that many of its journalists resigned. As a result of this clean sweep, Cambodians now only have access to news provided by major media groups directly linked to Hun Sen, such as the online news agency Fresh News, which pumps out pro-government propaganda. Only the Voice of Democracy network, whose radio station was closed, tries to resist on social media. Journalists who still dare to do investigative reporting on subjects that are not to the regime’s liking, such as prostitution of minors, are imprisoned. Defamation and lèse-majesté laws are widely used to circumvent provisions envisaged in article 41 of the constitution, which in theory guarantees every Cambodian citizen freedom of expression, press and publication.
143 in 2019
45.90 in 2019