The Information Ministry today denied accusations made by Radio Free Asia that the government forced the closure of the radio station, resulting in the termination of its journalists.
Speaking at a press conference today, Information Ministry spokesman Ouk Kimseng, said the RFA closed its radio station on its own despite the ministry considering its application to be registered.
“The ministry has always instructed RFA to get registered. The RFA head office wrote an official letter seeking registration and the ministry replied saying it was under consideration,” said Mr Kimseng.
“Now they have decided to close their office and terminate the contracts of their radio journalists, and are blaming us,” he added.
“They closed their office and stopped operations themselves. The ministry did not close them down.”
RFA on Tuesday closed its Phnom Penh office after nearly 20 years, claiming the government under the guise of fiscal and administrative errors had persecuted it.
It said that Prime Minister Hun Sen had no intention to allow free media to operate in Cambodia before the 2018 election.
On Wednesday the radio station said all its journalists would not have the contracts renewed when they expire at the end of the month and its operations would only continue outside the country.
An anonymous source told Khmer Times that RFA staff would work as normal this month, but without any office, with some working in cafes or from home.
Mr Kimseng said he heard that RFA “would create a team to work secretly like spies to send reports to the US”.
“This is incitement and the government will take action against these people,” he said.
“They threaten us to follow the law, but they now they are acting without respecting the law. When the government enforced the law, they said we are putting pressure on freedom of expression.
“Why are only media organisations that insult the government called independent? What about the rest?”