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Alert Detail
Newspaper motto noting Cambodia’s land area deemed “insulting”, two newspapers shut down
Date Issue 2011-08-04
Nature of violation Closure of two newspapers run by the same publisher
Rights involved Right to freedom of expression, Article 41 of the Constitution of Cambodia and Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
Brief Description

The Cambodian Ministry of Information has rescinded the licenses of two newspapers owned by the same publisher – The Water and Fire News and The World News – and has ordered that the two papers cease publication. A notice outlining the decision was signed by Khieu Kannharith, the Minister of Information, which stated that the order was effective as of 3 August 2011.

According to ministry spokesperson Yeam Noy, the order was given as a result of the failure of either paper to publish any address despite repeated requests by the Ministry that such information be provided but also as a result of a perceived insult to the Ministry of Information. In an article in The Cambodia Daily on 4 August 2011 Mr. Yeam is quoted explaining that the motto of one of The Water and Fire News – “News that doesn’t cover outside the 181,035 km square territory” referring to Cambodia’s land area – which was published on the front cover amounted to an insult to the Ministry of the Information without offering any further explanation.

The two newspapers, according to their director Keo Amnot Sangkhem, are independent of any political party but run articles which are critical of the ruling Cambodian People’s Party. In the article in The Cambodia Daily, Mr. Keo explains that he previously halted publication of The Water and Fire News three years ago by his own volition after he was threatened by a government official following his publication of an article following the death of National Police Commissioner Hok Lundy. Since receiving notification of decision to rescind the licenses of the two newspapers, Mr. Keo has written a complaint to the Minister of Information.


For more information or for comment on the facts reported above, please contact:

 Ou Virak, President of the Cambodian Center for Human Rights


Telephone: +855 12 40 40 51

 A free press can be good or bad, but, most certainly, without freedom a press will never be anything but bad. 

-   Albert Camus
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