Eroding Press Freedom: Media Crackdown in Cambodia

The move of Cambodia’s former prime minister, Hun Sen, to shut an independent media, Voice of Democracy (VOD), ahead of the 2023 general elections reflects the 2017 media crackdown playbook. Along with the intimidation and harassment against independent journalists, it erodes Cambodia’s press freedom and democracy.

Khan Leakhena misses the spirit of her team in Voice of Democracy Newsroom. She used to work as a reporter and was regularly featured in VOD’s Facebook Live feed for breaking news reporting.

“I remember working as a team, without discrimination. We love each other like siblings, help each other […]. No matter how tired we were, we still created a happy environment. We smiled. We joked with each other, ​​” Leakhena recalled her time at VOD.

She started to work as an intern around 10 years ago and soon became a reporter at VOD. But not anymore.

She and her coworkers lost their jobs after Cambodia’s former prime minister, who ruled for almost four decades, Hun Sen, shut down VOD. He ordered to revoke the operating license of the Cambodian Center for Independent Media, VOD’s parent company, earlier this year.

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