IFJ call for restraint over threat to suspend Cambodia Daily

Media Release: Cambodia/Burma                                                                          
May 22, 2008

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) is concerned at alleged threats by Cambodia’s Ministry of Information to suspend the publication of the Cambodia Daily for 30 days.

The threat came after the Cambodia Daily began publishing an eight-page supplement, Burma Daily, on May 16 with the stated aim of providing Burmese citizens with news regarding Burma and the world.
According to the Cambodian Association for the Protection of Journalists (CAPJ), an IFJ affiliate, Information Minister

Khieu Kanharith announced on May 20 that the Cambodia Daily did not have the correct permission from the government to publish its Burma Daily supplement. The newspaper’s publisher has insisted that no further permission was necessary.

The Information Ministry reportedly ordered all copies of the Burma Daily to be confiscated, and further warned that publication of the Cambodia Daily could be suspended for 30 days if it continued to publish the Burma Daily without the appropriate permission.

The IFJ joins the CAPJ in appealing for discussions between the company and Cambodia’s authorities to resolve the impasse.

“Although we acknowledge the role of regulation, the approach taken by Cambodia’s Information Ministry appears heavy-handed given the circumstances,” said
IFJ Asia-Pacific Director Jacqueline Park.

The Cambodian Government’s hard line comes during a time of even tighter restrictions for the media within Burma following the destruction caused by Cyclone Nargis.

According to Mizzima News, Burmese private weekly newspapers have been ordered by the Press Scrutiny and Registration Board “not to run any story that depicts the destruction caused by the cyclone that pummelled the Rangoon and Irrawaddy deltas.” A senior journalist told Mizzima that the media have been warned not to comment on critical food shortages and instead are to report only on “the reconstruction efforts by the authorities”

There have also been heavy restrictions placed on the freedom to travel, with many journalists having been told to leave areas of devastation.

“The IFJ condemns unequivocally the Burmese junta’s steps to further strangle an already tight flow of information within and out of Burma,” said Park. “A free and fair flow of information is essential to support reconstruction efforts after such devastation.”

For further information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +612 9333 0919
The IFJ represents over 600,000 journalists in 120 countries


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