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Ros Sokhet's paper denied state licence

Ros Sokhet's paper denied state licence

THE Ministry of Information will not issue a licence for formerly  jailed journalist Ros Sokhet to publish his  Anticorruption Newspaper, which the newly-freed scribe had claimed would target Prime Minister Hun Sen and other officials.

Yem Noy, director of the department of media at the Ministry of Information, said yesterday that Ros Sokhet would not be granted a licence because of his status as a convicted criminal.

“There will be no license from him because he was convicted,” Yem Noy said. “Normally, the Press Law does not allow those with convictions to establish newspapers.”

Ros Sokhet was convicted of disinformation last year after sending a series of allegedly threatening text messages to prominent commentator and news anchor Soy Sopheap.  He was sentenced to two years in prison before being released on a reduced sentence by the Appeal Court in October.

Ros Sokhet said following his release that his planned publication would be “independent and neutral”, but would focus on rooting out corruption within the government – starting with the premier himself.

“I will shoot photos and count how many houses he’s got and how many hectares of land he’s got,” Ros Sokhet said at the time. “I will count how many private companies his relatives are behind, providing those companies immunity from land-grabbing charges.”

The defiant journalist said yesterday that he had already written several articles for his newspaper, and hoped to eventually receive his licence. Opposition news editor Hang Chakra, who was released earlier this year after serving a one-year jail term for disinformation, has also announced plans to resurrect his newspaper, though he has yet to announce a launch date.

Ros Sokhet also said yesterday that he had been appointed a “media consultant” for the opposition Sam Rainsy Party, a post that SRP spokesman Yim Sovann said was unofficial.

“Only the SRP can alleviate poverty and help victims of land grabbing,” Ros Sokhet said.