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Mekong Times to stop press

Mekong Times to stop press

Newspaper beset by financial problems

THE Mekong Times will stop publishing, the newspaper announced Monday, six months after the English-language daily fired up its presses.

Editor-in-chief Neth Pheaktra said the paper was suffering financial problems and that the decision to close had nothing to do with the quality of the publication or competition from other media organisations.

"The Mekong Times was a private company and the budget for running the paper was limited," he said. "We will reopen the office in the future if we have more funds."

Sebastien Drans, director of The Mekong Times, explained that one of the financial partners in the project decided to pull out from running the paper.

"It's a purely financial issue," Drans said. "We are doing everything possible to find other partners and eventually hope to reopen the paper."

A great loss

The Mekong Times, which employed more than 40 staff and ran on a budget of about US$30,000 a month, opened on February 8 and had published 135 editions. The 12-page newspaper, with a four-page Khmer-language insert, covered local, regional and international news, and had in the past received praise from Prime Minister Hun Sen for its integrity and impartial reporting.

Minister of Information Khieu Kanharith said that the discontinuation of The Mekong Times was unfortunate because it meant a loss of balance in the information presented by foreign media.

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