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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Opposition paper targets end of year for official relaunch

Opposition paper targets end of year for official relaunch

THE publisher of a prominent opposition-aligned newspaper says the publication will be relaunched online early next month and could begin printing again in December after being shut down earlier this year due to financial troubles.

“I will start reprinting my newspaper by December this year at the soonest, after I come back from a two-month visit to the United States,” said Hang Chakra, the publisher of Khmer Machas Srok, who was jailed last year after being convicted of disinformation.

He said that the newspaper would begin publishing online from next month, using US$5,000 of his own money, as well as donations that he hopes to procure during his visit to the US.

Khmer Machas Srok stopped publishing in June because of a lack of funds, Hang Chakra said, in addition to stomach, respiratory and eye problems that he acquired during his time in prison.

In June 2009, Hang Chakra was convicted and handed a one-year jail term for disinformation after Khmer Machas Srok published a series of stories alleging corruption in Deputy Prime Minister Sok An’s cabinet. He was released in April after a Royal pardon.

For the relaunched publication, Hang Chakra said he will keep the same style, and will continue to provide “constructive criticisms” of the government. The newpaper will have six staff members, including four reporters, he said.

When contacted yesterday, Boay Roeuy, a reporter at the newspaper, said he welcomed its rebirth, and vowed to maintain its confrontational stance.

“Even though I’m a bit scared, I’m very happy to work for Khmer Machas Srok,” he said. “Although we can’t stop corruption, we can make officials who commit corruption feel scared after the opposition newspaper publishes [stories about] their corruption again and again.”

Dam Sith, publisher and editor in chief of Moneaksekar Khmer, another opposition-aligned daily, said he welcomed the news that Khmer Machas Srok will start printing again. “It is better to have more opposition voices,” he said.

Chhum Socheath, director of cabinet at the Ministry of Information, said any newspaper wanting to set up a website had to inform to his ministry in advance.

Hang Chakra said he would inform the Information Ministry within next few days about his plan to set up the site.



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