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Cambodia’s Last Independent Newspaper in Peril Amid Editorial Concerns Over Sale

2 min read
Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Phnom Penh city sunset. Photo: Dmitry A. Mottl.

Cambodia’s Phnom Penh Post newspaper saw an exodus of senior staff Monday after the editor-in-chief of the country’s last independent daily was dismissed by the paper’s new owner—a Malaysian investor with reported ties to Prime Minister Hun Sen.

Hun Sen has authored a crackdown on the opposition, NGOs and the independent media in recent months that is widely viewed as part of a bid to ensure his ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) remains in power following general elections set for July 29.

The Phnom Penh Post was sold over the weekend for an unknown sum to Malaysian investor Sivakumar S. Ganapathy, who is the CEO of Kuala Lumpur-based public relations company Asia PR. The sale followed the out-of-court settlement of a U.S. $3.9 million claim by the government against the Post and its former owner, Australian mining businessman Bill Clough, for alleged unpaid back taxes.

On Sunday, the Post ran a story about the sale that detailed Sivakumar’s ties to Hun Sen and quoted observers expressing concerns about the editorial integrity of the 26-year-old paper, which regularly publishes articles critical of the prime minister’s leadership, going forward. Asia PR lists one of its government-related projects as assisting Hun Sen’s “entry into the government seat.”

In a statement that same day, Sivakumar called Sunday’s article “a disgrace and an insult to the independence claim of the newspaper” that “borders on internal sabotage” and ordered editor-in-chief Kay Kimsong, and reporters Brendan O’Byrne and Ananth Baliga fired.

Full story:

Reported by RFA’s Khmer Service. Translated by Nareth Muong. Written in English by Joshua Lipes.

Copyright © 1998-2018, RFA. Used with the permission of Radio Free Asia, 2025 M St. NW, Suite 300, Washington DC 20036.

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