King Norodom Sihanouk on Thursday pardoned the editor of an opposition newspaper that printed an article critical of the monarch.
“I hereby announce that I grant a pardon to Mr Dam Sith, publisher and editor-in-chief of the Moneaksekar Khmer [Khmer Conscience] newspaper, which recently published [an article] strongly affecting my honor and reputation,” the King wrote in a letter.
The newspaper was suspended by the Information Ministry on Sept 18 after a Sept 12 front-page article, “The Democratic Forces May Consider Cambodia as a Country Without a King.”
Dam Sith said he received the King’s pardon early Thursday but was still awaiting authorization from the Information Ministry to resume publication. “I think His Majesty was not angry with that article,” Dam Sith said. “But [Second Prime Minister] Hun Sen intends to shut down any opposition paper that publishes factual information about Hun Sen doing bad things.”
Leng Sochea, director of the press department of the Ministry of Information, confirmed that the King wrote to the ministry requesting authorization for the editor to resume publication. The ministry will reverse the suspension when the public holiday ends.
“We will comply with the King’s request and we will issue a declaration to withdraw the 30 days suspension,” Leng Sochea said.