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Guwahati : Journalists’ Forum Assam (JFA) in northeast India expresses
concern over the ongoing crackdown on newspaper & radios in Cambodia
with an aim to silence the media ahead of next year’s general
election. The recent shut down of an independent English newspaper in
the southeast Asian country has shown the authority’s intolerance
towards the mainstream media, alleged the forum based in northeast
India.

The media rights body of northeast India revealed in statement that
The Cambodia Daily (www.cambodiadaily.com) was forced by the
government agencies to close down its publication over a tax dispute.
The newspaper was slapped with a purported $6.3 million tax bill
recently and the authority ordered the amount to be paid by September
4 last or shut down its operation. Since the day the newspaper has not
gone for the press and it was confirmed by the Pnong Pen office.
“Facing imminent threats of closure and legal action over a disputed
$6.3 million tax bill, The Cambodia Daily will cease operations as of
today (4 September 2017), bringing to a close more than 24 years of
independent journalism. The power to tax is the power to destroy. And
after 24 years and 15 days, the Cambodian government has destroyed the
newspaper that has been regarded a special and singular part
Cambodia’s free press,” quoting said the  owner Deborah Krisher-
Steele, the daily’s website revealed.

Cambodia’s information ministry also ordered the closure of nearly  15
radio stations broadcasting programs from international broadcasters
namely Radio Free Asia (RFA), Voice of America (VOA), Voice of
Democracy (VOD) etc. Meanwhile, the RFA decided to close its Phnom
Penh bureau citing the  recent of media crackdown by the authority.
Another United States-funded broadcaster VOA is also planning similar
actions.

“It is now logical to describe Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen as an
anti-media politician. He has seemingly no intention to allow the
media to exercise its freedom ahead of the crucial national election
scheduled for early 2018,” said a statement issued by JFA president
Rupam Barua and secretary Nava Thakuria adding that the influential
media bodies around the world should condemn the Cambodian authority
for its latest anti-media crackdown.

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