A SECOND Khmer newspaper is about to be sued for articles claimed to have
damaged the "honor, dignity and reputation" of the two Prime
The Ministry of Information filed charges on Feb 7 against New
Liberty News for an article it ran on Feb 6 accusing Prince Norodom Ranariddh
and Hun Sen of being "the heads of the thieves."
On Jan 17, the Ministry
of Information canceled its decision to shut down the Voice of Khmer Youth,
which had earlier run an accusatory article against Ranariddh, but decided to
sue the paper instead.
The court was expected to hear the two cases
soon, the statement said, adding that under article 32 of the SOC's media law
the maximum fine was three million riel.
In its Feb 6 issue, the New
Liberty News published an article under the byline Toyota calling Cambodia "A
country of thieves" with both prime ministers acting as the heads of the
It named Second Premier Hun Sen as a "spearhead of thieves from
the top to the local level, who know how to steal very
Instead of cracking down on thieves after the election,
the article continued, First Premier Norodom Ranariddh also "asked to become a
head of thieves as well."
"Long live, cooperation between the two
Samdechs [Norodom Ranariddh and Hun Sen] in becoming the number one heads of
thieves in the world," the article reads.
The statement said it was the
second time the New Liberty News has published an article deemed to be outside
It added the Ministry of Information had the right to suspend
the newspaper under article 37 of SOC's media law, but it chose not to do so,
rather to proceed with civil charges.
"The article provided no
foundation, no fact and lacked professionalism," said Information Minister Ieng
"This kind of accusation is unacceptable even for the writer
himself," he added.
The government has indicated it is now intending to
sue errant newspapers, rather than forcibly closing them. A draft press law is
expected to go before the National Assembly soon.