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Comment: Phnom Penh Post

T

his issue marks the second anniversary of the Phnom Penh Post. As the oldest

existing independent newspaper in Cambodia, the Post celebrates its birthday,

regrettably, in an environment of increasing concern among the journalistic

community and the general public over whether or not a free press will continue

to flourish in the Kingdom.

In recent months several papers have been

shut down, editors have been arrested and journalists have complained about

intimidation.

Will a free press survive in Cambodia? Will the Phnom Penh

Post be able to celebrate its third birthday one year from now? Only time will

tell.

From my own perspective as publisher of the Post it goes without

saying that a free press must be a responsible press.

In this regard, I

dare say that our record to date when compared with other papers in the Kingdom

has been exemplary.

We have at all times taken great pains to provide an

accurate accounting of current events as they unfold in the country. To the

point, the Post has few if any apologies to make for its track record to date,

and I stand 100 percent behind the reporting of all Post

journalists.

However, the Post like all newspapers will from time to time

get the story wrong. But as I said 52 issues ago in the inaugural edition of the

Post, we stand ready to be corrected. More importantly, the Post has been and

will continue to remain open to comments, criticism and countervailing opinions.

For those readers who disagree with our news analysis, the paper welcomes

alternative viewpoints from any and all quarters - public, private, non-profit,

diplomatic, whatever.

When all is said and done, and in spite of what the

future might hold for the Post, I feel a definite sense of pride in what all of

us here at the paper have achieved to date.

Should, at some point down

the road, the Royal Government determine that the continuance of the Phnom Penh

Post is not in the best interest of the Kingdom of Cambodia, I will take comfort

in the fact that for at least two years the Post was warmly received by the bulk

of its readers.

Letters from our Cambodian readers have perhaps provided

the greatest source of encouragement. A doctor in Pursat, a student in

Battambang, an NGO worker in Kompong Cham were just a few of the Post's readers

who took the time to write in to thank us for our efforts.

The gist of

their message was that they were extremely grateful to have an independent

source of news on what was happening in Cambodia, something which had been

completely unavailable to them for more than two decades.

With this in

mind, the Phnom Penh Post will continue to provide to the best of its ability an

accurate and reliable source of "independent news and views".

In a

country that has experienced so much hardship and suffering, it is my firm

belief that the people of this very special Kingdom deserve nothing less.

- Michael Hayes, Publisher and Editor-in-Chief

 

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