May 19, 2018

New Phnom Penh Post owner defends 'rocky start'

 Malaysian investor and new Phnom Penh Post publisher Siva Kumar said the paper's sale was a 'simple and honest business venture' AFP / TANG CHHIN Sothy

AFP, May 18, 2018

The new owner of Cambodia's beleaguered Phnom Penh Post on Friday denied links to the country's authoritarian government and defended a stormy takeover which saw journalists resign en masse over fears for editorial independence.

The May 5 sale of the English-language daily to Malaysian investor Siva Kumar G sent a shudder of dread through advocates of free expression in the kingdom, where premier Hun Sen has crushed all criticism in the run-up to July elections.

The buyer also owns Asia PR, a company that once worked for Cambodia's government, stirring alarm over apparent cosy links with the ruling party.

Hun Sen has dismantled the fragile democracy's once-vibrant media scene over the past year, with the Post one of few remaining watchdogs in the graft-riddled country.

The paper's main rival, the Cambodia Daily, was among media closed last year as part of a wider crackdown on critics ahead of 2018 polls that Hun Sen is determined to win.

In a combative press conference Friday, Siva said he took over Asia PR in 2011, long after any business it might have had with Hun Sen's administration, insisting no ties remain.

The Post was founded by American journalist Michael Hayes in 1992. AFP / TANG CHHIN Sothy

"I wish to clarify there is no government involvement," he said of the sale, admitting that it had gotten off to a "rocky start".

Citing his own background as a journalist by training, Siva said the sale was a "simple and honest business venture" and that he had been "demonised by certain journalists at the Phnom Penh Post".

Most of the foreign staff members resigned after refusing to take down an article about the sale while the Cambodian editor-in-chief was fired.

Siva, whose full name is Sivakumar Ganapathy, hinted on Friday at new restructuring plans, saying he had appointed a transition team.

The Post was founded by American journalist Michael Hayes in 1992, just as Cambodia was set to hold its first democratic elections after years of civil strife and the bloody reign of the Khmer Rouge.

Cambodia plunged 10 places in this year's media freedom ranking by Reporters Without Borders.

The rapid decline of the kingdom's media scene has followed a lurch into greater authoritarianism.

The main opposition party -- Hun Sen's only real rival -- was dissolved in a court ruling last year.

Both the US and EU have pulled support for the July 29 vote, which the leader's Cambodian People's Party is expected to dominate.


Karl [Kalonh] Chuck [ពីស្បែកដល់ឆ្អឹង!] said...
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Justic Justice said...

Whatever happening could be another communists tactics and tricks. To prevent from having such news. E.g to sell off, and to eventually shut down. Exactly as communists planned. Communists are ways smarter then Hun Sen million times. They pretend to be on his side e.g telling him that people are against him and then only to fuel him up, to turn against his people or opponents, to prevent him or Cambodia from achieving its goal of peace and prosperity.Doing so, for Khmers to continue to kill all khmers, for their national interest. They have used this kind of methodology for last 1000s years also, Known as ‘killing two birds with one stone’. That is going to war without firing a shot, also known as the ‘silence killer’, just like cancer attacking from the inside out. E.g to be in control of the machine, or to kill a snake is to start from the head, then the body will go suit, that is to kidnap their leaders and ask for ransom, e.g do what I say or else. To create one problem after another for them to focus and pointing fingers at each other, rather than conformity, to work with each other as a team. While Cambodians in crisis, they began to rob everything of her. Saying Cambodians are like animals, and that they are too dumb to know everything.They did it to kind Dumb Sihanouk, Pol Pot, Chea Sim, Hang Sarin and Hun. Eventually, all will fall apart one by one.

First, they groomed you then they robbed from you.

What to do
CPP Hun Sen need to do the opposite of what communists wanted e.g to let all political prisoners go, and also to let all journalists do their Job. To tell the world what has been happening to Cambodia. Just like VC Vietnamese does. Right now, they are asking US, EU and UN for help, to prevent from communists taking over her. E.g in the case of South China Sea and of controlling her and her people E.g by intimidating, e.g do what I say or else.

Right now, Nguyen Tan Dung are prepared to side with US, just like Kim Jung Un does. And all money that he had will be used against the communists Chinese and Russian. History is about to repeat itself.

Hun Sen needs to be more open minded. Do not side with Chinese or Russian. They are not your friends, but rather your enemies. You must always listen to your educated ones. Never ever point fingers at each other but to point at them. Together you stand, divided you will fall. You must apologise to each other in the name of love, unity and respect. Only then, Cambodians will be at Peace. Otherwise, Cambodians no more by 2020.

sam said...

Fresh News never claims that it sides with the government, but only the very dumb people don’t know that.
With the new owner, PPP has become another Fresh News.