Promising Scruples, SRP Paper To Reopen

Six months after it was closed down following a government lawsuit, the opposition-affiliated Moneaksekar Khmer newspaper will start up again next week, according to Editor-in-Chief Dam Sith.

Mr Sith said yesterday his newspaper would once again provide critical news coverage to its readership, adding he had received his renewed newspaper license after it was issued by the Ministry of Information on Thursday.

“I will keep the same position. The important thing is that we’ll weigh the words we use and base it on what is professional,” he said.

In a court case brought in June, Mr Sith was accused by the government of defamation, disinformation and incitement and but the proceedings were dropped in July after he sent a letter to Prime Minister Hun Sen to apologize and promised to stop publishing the newspaper.

Asked yesterday why he decided to reopen his newspaper, Mr Sith replied, “Normally, what is our profession we have to pursue.”

Moeun Chhean Nariddh, director of the Cambodia Institute for Media Studies, said Moneaksekar Khmer should retain its critical stance with “facts and evidence” so it could defend itself against critics.

Mr Chhean Nariddh doubted however that the newspaper would provide the same critical news coverage as before it closed down. “We are concerned that anyone who goes into a coma and recovers, will not be able to normalize its feelings like before,” he said.

SRP spokesman Yim Sovann hailed the return of the newspaper.

“As far as I know, [the editor] will keep his stance,” he said.

Mr Sith, who is also a member of the SRP board of directors, was previously imprisoned for a week in June 2008 after his newspaper published public statements made by opposition leader Sam Rainsy who accused Foreign Minister Hor Namhong of links to the Khmer Rouge regime.

 

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