Hang Chakra’s Newspaper To Start Publishing Again

Recently freed newspaper publisher Hang Chakra said his opposition newspaper, Khmer Machas Srok, will resume publishing again on May 1.

The newspaper put out its last issue on April 1 because of financial problems, he added.

“My newspaper still keeps the oppositional stance as before but we will also respect the journalists’ ethics,” he said, adding that he would not back down from the many challenges of running an opposition paper.

Mr Chakra said he met with Information Minister Khieu Kanharith to inform him of his intention of starting up again, and that Mr Kanharith had welcomed the plan.

“I hope my readers will support my newspaper like before,” he said. Mr Chakra said he has no business partners and funds the entire paper by himself.

Mr Chakra was pardoned and released from Prey Sar prison on April 13 after serving nine months of a one-year prison term for publishing articles alleging corruption in the government.

Chum Sophal, editor-in-chief of Khmer Machas Srok, said on Friday that he hopes to publish continuously at the same standard as before but was afraid more financial troubles would stop the production of the newspaper again.

“Khmer Machas Srok News will republish on May 1, and we will take the same [standard] as before,” he said.

Moeun Chhean Nariddh, director of the Cambodia Institute for Media Studies, said on Friday that democratic societies need both pro-government and opposition newspapers to keep the government accountable.

He added that it was particularly important to have opposition voices in Cambodia because of limited freedom of expression rights, and because the government has a large stake in the country’s media including newspaper, TV and radio.

“If a country does not have an opposition newspaper, it does not have democracy,” Mr Nariddh said.

Mr Kanharith could not be reached for comment on Friday.



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