LOCAL French-language weekly newspaper Cambodge Soir has been forced to close due to financial concerns, its management announced.
Cambodge Soir director Jerome Morinière said in a statement that the publication had lost support from its financial backer after operations became “too expensive” in the aftermath of the global economic crisis.
The final issue of the newspaper will be published on Thursday.
“Our readership and the advertising market in Cambodia are too narrow and do not allow the sustainability of the paper without any additional donations or subsidies,” Morinière said.
Originally launched in 1993 as the monthly publication Le Mekong, Cambodge Soir became a daily in 1997. In 2007, the paper was shuttered for a number of months due to internal problems, before relaunching in October that year in its weekly print
Last year, Cambodge Soir reporter Ung Chansophea won the Franco-phone Press Freedom Award for an article on battered women, becoming the first Asian journalist to earn the honour.
A survey earlier this year by Indochina Research found that in the first quarter of 2010, television ad spending grew 43 percent while print spending dropped 16 percent. Print ads in newspapers and magazines constituted just 10 percent of media advertising in the quarter, compared to 90 percent for television, the survey said.
Pen Bona, a 15-year veteran of Cambodge Soir who currently serves as co-editor in chief, said he regretted the demise of a “very professional newspaper”.
“This is very bad ... for Francophonie in Cambodia, because Cambodge Soir is the only newspaper in French language in the country,” Pen Bona said.
Pen Bona said that although the paper’s 28-member staff, which includes 10 reporters, was disappointed by the newspaper’s closure, it bore no ill will towards its management.
“We understand the situation, and we accept the situation,” Pen Bona said. “We will find another job.”