Cambodia Prime Minister shuts down one of its last independent news outlets


Cambodia: Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen on Sunday ordered the shutdown of one of the last few local independent news outlets.

He claimed that the organization, The Voice of Democracy (VOD), had intentionally slandered him and his son in an article about the country’s relief assistance to earthquake victims in Turkey.

VOD will no longer have a license to publish or broadcast from 10 a.m. local time (0300 UTC) on Monday, the prime minister said in a Facebook statement.

Editors at the news organisation confirmed to the BBC that police had arrived at their Phnom Penh office on Monday morning with an order revoking their operating licence.

Access to past stories on VOD’s Khmer and English sites has also been blocked by some internet service providers, staff confirmed.

“People are shocked and still trying to process this,” associate editor Ananth Baliga told the BBC on Monday. “It has been a very accelerated time frame from when the story was published to the suspension of a licence.”

On Sunday, Hun Sen said he was shutting down VOD after the outlet published a story about Cambodia’s aid response to the Turkey earthquake. The 9 February report said a $100,000 (£83,000) package had been signed off by his elder son, Hun Manet.

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