Journalists’ Forum Assam (JFA) in northeast India expresses concern over the ongoing crackdown on newspaper & radios in Cambodia with an aim to silence the media ahead of next year’s general election. The recent shut down of an independent English newspaper in the southeast Asian country has shown the authority’s intolerance towards the mainstream media, alleged the forum based in northeast India.
In a statement, the forum of scribes revealed that the Cambodia Daily was forced by the government agencies to close down its publication over a tax dispute. The newspaper was slapped with a purported $6.3 million tax bill recently and the authority ordered the amount to be paid by September 4 last or shut down its operation.
The country’s information ministry also ordered the closure of nearly 15 radio stations broadcasting programs from international broadcasters namely Radio Free Asia (RFA), Voice of America (VOA), Voice of Democracy (VOD) etc. Meanwhile, the RFA decided to close its Phnom Penh bureau citing the recent of media crackdown by the authority. Another United States-funded broadcaster VOA is also planning similar actions.
“It is now logical to define the Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen as an anti-media politician. He perhaps has no intention to allow the press to exercise its freedom ahead of the crucial national election scheduled for early 2018,” said a statement issued by JFA president Rupam Barua and secretary Nava Thakuria adding that influential media rights bodies should condemn the Cambodian authority for its latest anti-media crackdowns.