THE head of the Deum Ampil Media Centre announced on Thursday that he had abruptly shut down operations of its popular newspaper, radio station and magazine, citing financial problems.
Soy Sopheap, a well-known media personality and the centre’s director general, said the suspension of the three products – Deum Ampil newspaper, Radio FM 93.75 and Morokot magazine – would go into effect on Thursday, and that there were no immediate plans to restart any of them.
“I have informed the minister of information about the suspension of the newspaper, radio station and magazine due to a financial crisis,” said Soy Sopheap, who declined to offer further information.
Soy Sopheap said the media centre’s website would continue being updated with daily news items. On Thursday, the website carried an announcement informing readers of the closure of the newspaper, radio station and magazine.
Soy Sophea, Soy Sopheap’s brother and editor-in-chief of Morokot magazine, said the three operations were closed because of a budget disagreement between Soy Sopheap and the media group’s financial backer, Sieng Chanheng, owner of the Heng Development Company.
He said that Soy Sopheap made the decision to go ahead with the suspension after he was asked to cut the total expenses of the operations in
“They do not want to see further losses, so they asked to reduce the expenses and reduce the staff numbers, but we cannot do it,” Soy Sophea said.
He said Soy Sopheap had concluded that he could not make dramatic cuts to his staff of 110 employees and still operate satisfactorily, so he decided to stop their operations altogether.
When contacted by the Post on Thursday, Sieng Chanheng said she had not been made aware of the suspension.
She acknowledged that her organisation was losing tens of thousands of dollars each month as part of its investments in Deum Ampil, but she said she had never asked that operations be shut down.
“It is not a matter of money. We have the money for funding. We lost between US$10,000 to $40,000 a month, but there was no problem,” said Sieng Chanheng, who instead pointed the finger at Soy Sopheap.
“The problem is, Soy Sopheap does whatever he wants to without informing us, the sponsors,” she said.
Buth Bovuth, director general of the Department of Information and Broadcasting at the Ministry of Information, confirmed that he had received the letter from Soy Sopheap informing the ministry of the closure of the three Deum Ampil operations.
“I think his centre is very popular among the readers because it provides good news and quick news,” Buth Bovuth said.
“His main cause of the closure is the shortage of operating finances.”
Deum Ampil newspaper began publishing in 2006. The organisation’s magazine was started in February 2009, and the radio station went live last December.