Opposition Paper Suspended

The Ministry of Information has ordered an opposition newspaper suspended for 30 days over an article critical of King Noro­dom Sihanouk.

But the editor of Moneaksekar Khmer (Khmer Conscience)  vowed Thursday to defy the suspension and continue to publish.

Khieu Kanharith, secretary of state for the Ministry of Inform­a­tion, said he or­dered the suspension after Moneak­sekar Khmer printed a front-page article entitled “The Democratic Forces May Con­sider Cambodia as a Country Without a King.”

The article dealt with the King   Sihanouk’s advice to opposition leaders Friday to attend the Na­tion­al Assembly’s opening session.

“The newspaper can insult [Se­c­ond Prime Minister] Hun Sen, but they cannot scold the King,” Khieu Kanharith said. “If we let newspapers insult the King, it may make him change his mind about opening the new Na­tional Assembly and that would deteriorate the present crisis.”

Failure to follow the suspension order could result in the arrest of the newspaper’s editor, he warned.

Moneaksekar Editor Dam Sith confirmed that he received the suspension notice Thursday, but said the paper would continue to publish and would print the ministry’s letter in today’s edition.

“Such a warning is unjust, dictatorial and a serious violation of rights,” he said, adding that the article in question did not insult the King but only highlighted what he called the monarch’s failure to stand up to Hun Sen.

Plus, he said, pro-CPP newspapers have in the past “seriously cursed” the King and nothing happened to them.


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