As Cambodia approaches a crucial election, journalists suffer shutdowns and abuse

The government recently revoked the licence of an influential news outlet. The crackdown against journalism has accelerated ever since.

On 13 February 2023, the Cambodian government revoked the operating licence of Voice of Democracy (VOD), closing one of the last remaining independent news organisations in Cambodia.

VOD, run by the nonprofit Cambodian Center for Independent Media (CCIM) since 2007, was based in Phnom Penh and produced radio broadcasts as well as publishing online in two languages: English and Khmer. The outlet created radio and online news, features and investigations into political corruption, land rights and labour rights. The homepage of its Khmer website was last updated on 12 February and broadcasts were prohibited from the day after.

The week before its licence was revoked, VOD reported on Cambodia giving aid to Turkey after the recent earthquake. Its report quoted a government spokesperson who said that Hun Manet, commander-in-chief of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces and Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen’s son, had allegedly signed off $100,000 in aid, a move that would overstep his authority.

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