Media Tycoon Looks To Launch Newspaper Khmer, English

Local media tycoon Kith Meng may soon launch a Khmer- and Eng­­lish-language newspaper, add­ing to the country’s 200-strong roster of licensed publications, officials said this week.

Owner of MobiTel and CTN television and president of the Phnom Penh Chamber of Com­merce, Kith Meng has renewed his application to launch a newspaper called The Metro, which he originally applied to publish in April 2004, government spokesman and Information Minister Khieu Kanharith said Tuesday.

Khieu Kanharith was unsure whether Kith Meng, who is also chairman of ANZ Royal Bank, would try to buy and revamp an existing newspaper, such as the now-defunct Business News, or start The Metro from scratch.

He was also uncertain of such spe­cifics as the size and format of the paper, the scope of the paper’s coverage or how much it would cost per issue.

According to the renewed li­cense, The Metro’s office will be lo­cated at 246-9 Street 93 in Phnom Penh’s Daun Penh district, Khieu Kanharith said.

Contacted by telephone Tues­day, Kith Meng refused to comment and hung up, while several CTN officials said they had no information on the paper.

Media trainer Moeun Chhean Nariddh said he welcomed another newspaper, but said he wondered whether The Metro would deliver unbiased news.

Kith Meng “seems to be a close friend of the government,” Moeun Chhean Nariddh said.

“It just may be another mouthpiece of the government, just one-sided,” he said.

Former director of the Cambo­dian Communication Institute Sek Borisoth said judgment should be reserved until The Metro hits the streets. The Metro’s coverage may be similar to CTN’s, he said.

“On occasion, CTN can provide good, interesting information,” he said.



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