Cambodian Journalism Review

Cambodia Lost Good Reputation for Press Freedom
July 24, 2008, 9:23 am
Filed under: Press Freedom


Cambodia Lost a Once-Good Reputation

for Press Freedom

by Moeun Chhean Nariddh

The Cambodia Daily, Monday, July 21, 2008


arly this year, Cambodia had a piece of good news to impress the world. Reporters Without Borders released a new press freedom index ranking Cambodia at 85 among 169 countries in the world.

Though this figure seemed low regarding the respect for press freedom in a democracy, Cambodia’s ranking far surpassed that of senior democracies in the region such as Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore and the Philippines – let alone authoritarian and communist regimes such as Burma, Laos and Vietnam.

Both the Cambodian government and journalists have proudly boasted that Cambodia’s press was “the freest” among all ASEAN member countries. With this better level of freedom, we greatly sympathized with media colleagues in neighboring countries like Burma, where many journalists were killed or thrown into jail.

We would like the governments and journalists in these countries to learn from Cambodia about how to build a democracy and free press.

With the better ranking of Cambodia’s press freedom and a relatively safe atmosphere, Cambodian journalists have pushed the limit of self-censorship and written high-risk stories like corruption, injustice, illegal logging and land grabbing committed by powerful officials and rich businessmen.

Unfortunately, their freedom didn’t live long. Cambodia’s press freedom pride appeared to come to an end after a local journalist and his innocent son were brutally gunned down in the street following the arrest of the slain reporter’s editor.

Now, Cambodian journalists feel that they are not safe. And Cambodia has nothing left to be proud regarding its press freedom. Nor have Cambodian journalists anything to teach others.

Instead, they may want to learn from their colleagues in Burma and other countries about how to do their jobs in an insecure environment.

It’s sad that Cambodia has lost its hard-earned pride over its press freedom. Cambodia may be unable to restore this good reputation unless the perpetrators of the recent murder of the Khmer reporter and his son and other past killers of journalists are brought to justice.


2 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Please, if you are going to leave an opinion proof check your spelling. It is very unprofessional and hard to be taken seriously when you are not spelling something right it also questions whether the information is true or not.

Comment by Ashley

Cambodia can never have true freedom of the press unless the government power is limited. It is said that Cambodia is based on the authority of the executive, legislative, and judiciary branch, but, technically, the government controlled over all these.

Comment by sakura

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