Nearly 300 local newspapers are facing closure next year due to inactivity in publishing, an official from the Ministry of Information’s general department of information and broadcasting has said.
After a workshop titled “Peace and Security in Cambodian Media” on Friday, department general director Phos Sovann told reporters the ministry would close newspapers that never actually publish.
“We will shut down news media that never publish,” he said.
“We do not want to keep them open and on our lists because it is too much.”
When asked if the newspapers were fronts for journalists to extort money from criminals by threatening publication of their activities, Mr Sovann said he could not say for sure, but noted many have been licensed for a long time and never issued a single edition.
“We require them to renew their registration once every couple of years, but some of them did not even renew,” he added. “So, we have decided to drop them.”
Mr Sovann said that from 2018 onward, the Ministry of Information would require all media to register to allow for easy management by the ministry, and to promote the value of journalism in accordance with the Law on Media.
“If the owner of a newspaper wants to reopen after the Ministry of Information has closed it, the ministry will allow it, but they must complete some of the conditions under the law and comply with the ministry’s instructions,” he said.
Pen Bona, president of the Club of Cambodian Journalists and editor-in-chief of PNN, said all media must adhere to the code of ethics and respect the law in order to avoid getting shut down.
“We are journalists, so we must respect the ethics of journalism and comply with the law,” said Mr Bona.
Currently, there are more than 500 newspapers, magazines and newsletters in the kingdom, along with more than 200 radio stations, 20 television stations, and 148 websites, according to Mr Sovann.