May 07, 2018

Cambodia's 'last independent' newspaper sold

A newspaper seen as Cambodia's last independent English daily has been sold to a Malaysian businessman, sparking fresh concerns about press freedom.

The Phnom Penh Post's new owner is Sivakumar Ganapthy, director of a PR firm which has previously done work for the Cambodian government.

He has said he will uphold the Post's legacy and editorial independence.

But the sale comes amidst an increasing crackdown on independent media outlets, ahead of a general election in July.

The Cambodia Daily, another independent newspaper, was last year forced to close after it received a $6.3m (£4.7m) tax bill that it could not pay.

Other independent media outlets have also reportedly been accused of not complying with tax obligations. US government-funded Radio Free Asia recently closed its bureau in Phnom Penh citing a "relentless crackdown" on independent media by Prime Minister Hun Sen.

The former owner of the Phnom Penh Post, Australian Bill Clough, confirmed the sale of the paper on Saturday, blaming falling advertising revenues.

(BBC News)