Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Opposition paper back in print

Opposition paper back in print

Opposition paper back in print

110322_2
Publisher of Khmer Machas Srok Hang Chakra speaks to reporters in Phnom Penh in April last year.

The opposition leaning Khmer Machas Srok newspaper yesterday resumed publishing after a nearly two-year hiatus stemming from the imprisonment of its publisher for defamation and disinformation in June 2009.

Although the paper will continue its support for the Sam Rainsy Party and criticism of the government, it is independent and not under the control of any political party or powerful clique, Hang Chakra, publisher of Khmer Machas Srok, said yesterday.

“We still keep the same stance of constructive criticism. Previously, they always said my newspaper is an ‘opposition newspaper’. Thank you for saying this,” Hang Chakra said.

“In fact, my newspaper is independent. There is no budget from anyone supporting me, it is my family’s budget.”

The top stories in yesterday’s paper, he said, covered comments by Sam Rainsy on his convictions, former Khmer Civilisation Foundation head Moeung Sonn calling for the Appeal Court to open Sam Rainsy’s case soon and allow him to return to Cambodia and protests against Boeung Kak lake evictions in Phnom Penh.

“I criticise the government but I have never regarded the government as my enemy. I criticise the government in order to build,” Hang Chakra said. “I am not scared of anything, I have been in jail.”

Hang Chakra was convicted in June 2009 of defamation and disinformation for articles published in Khmer Machas Srok and sentenced to one year prison and fined 9 million riel (US$2,229).

The decision was upheld by the Appeal Court that August.

Hang Chakra had published articles alleging that officials working for Deputy Prime Minister Sok An had been involved in corruption.

The Government filed a complaint alleging that the articles could affect political stability.

King Norodom Sihamoni granted Hang Chakra a royal pardon in April 2010.

Phay Siphan, spokesman for the Council of Ministers, said yesterday he welcomed the return of Khmer Machas Srok.

He said the government wanted newspapers to report responsibly, provide honest information and respect leaders. He warned however that newspapers will be prosecuted if they violate the press law.

“We welcome every criticism, but attacking, lying, duping, insulting we do not accept,” Phay Siphan said.

Senior Investigator for the local rights group Adhoc Chan Soveth said although there are plenty of newspapers in Cambodia, true freedom of expression is not practiced widely. He urged the media to write freely and without fear.

He added that Phay Siphan’s warning about the press law would encourage journalists to avoid writing that is not grounded in reality.

Surya Subedi, the United Nations special rapporteur for human rights, has urged the Cambodian Government to decriminalise defamation.

MOST VIEWED

  • Negotiations on EBA being held

    In an effort to defuse tensions, a senior government official said Cambodia is negotiating with the European Union (EU) on the Everything But Arms (EBA) trade deal, which allows the Kingdom to export goods to the 28-member bloc tariff-free. The EU notified Cambodia on October 5

  • Ministers to tackle sea pollutants

    Preah Sihanouk provincial authorities and members of local communities have collected 77 tonnes of water hyacinth at a Sihanoukville beach, Preah Sihanouk Provincial Hall spokesperson Or Saroeun said. He told The Post yesterday that the aquatic weeds had been floating along some of the province’s

  • Chinese police escort deported scam suspects

    Ninety-one Chinese nationals accused of extorting money from victims in a Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) scam were deported from Phnom Penh International Airport on Monday under the escort of 182 Chinese police personnel. General Department of Immigration head of investigations Ouk Hay Seila told reporters

  • Sam Rainsy, government group set to clash at IPU Geneva meet?

    Opposition figure Sam Rainsy has been invited to speak at the General Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) in Geneva, according to a former Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) lawmaker. A government delegation is also set to attend the meeting, a National Assembly press release