Editor Claims Gov’t Ordered Newspaper Halted

Sralanh Khmer Editor-in-Chief Boay Roeuy claimed Sunday that his SRP-affiliated newspaper was forced to stop publication after its printing house informed him on Friday that a man identifying himself as an Information Ministry official had ordered them to do so.

However, both Information Minister Khieu Kanharith and Angkor Printing House owner Bath Mann denied Boay Roeuy’s allegation.

“The [printing house] owner called me and said he received a telephone call…from a Ministry of Information official ordering us to stop publication,” Boay Roeuy said Sunday.

Khieu Kanharith said Sunday that no official from his ministry had ordered Sralanh Khmer to stop printing the newspaper, and accused the paper’s publisher, Thach Keth, who is currently in Vietnam, of fabricating the allegation in an attempt to obtain asylum in a Western country.

“It is a personal issue. He wants to seek asylum overseas,” Khieu Kanharith said.

Bath Mann said Sunday that although he received a call from an unidentified Information Ministry official, no order was given to halt publication.

“It is confusion. The fact is that the Ministry of Information official did not tell me to stop printing,” he said, adding that the only ministry official who called was actually investigating Sralanh Khmer’s claim that they had been told to halt publication.

The paper’s production halt came shortly after a CTN television broadcast Friday morning during which news anchor Soy Sopheap reported that publisher Thach Keth had joined the CPP—a report that Boay Roeuy strongly denied.

“The CTN news was not correct,” Boay Roeuy said, accusing Soy Sopheap of attempting to weaken the credibility of Sralanh Khmer.

He added that his paper had called on Soy Sopheap to issue a correction.

Soy Sopheap said Sunday that CTN would not be issuing a correction regarding Thach Keth’s allegedly joining the CPP.

“I broadcast information based on the source,” he said.

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