One of the last independent media stations in Cambodia, Voice of Democracy (VOD), had its license cancelled earlier this month. UN experts have urged the Cambodian government to restore it.
Under Hun Sen‘s directive, an online broadcaster in Cambodia that broadcasts in both Khmer and English had its operating license canceled earlier this month. Hun Sen said the media outlet’s story on his eldest son was inaccurate.
The Cambodia Daily was shut down in 2017 along with a number of other media publications as the country prepared for its 2018 elections, as the longest-serving leader and its administration had a history of cracking down on the press.
Speaking of the suspension, which was made without following the proper procedures, UN experts appointed by the Human Rights Council referred to the choice as disturbing.
However, the experts do not speak on behalf of the UN.
The three experts stated on Monday, “We are disturbed by the license revocation of Voice of Democracy without proper procedure, and with immediate effect in the run-up to vital national elections expected in July.”
“The revocation leaves virtually no free media outlets operating in the nation,” the special rapporteurs continued.
They urged the Cambodian government to reconsider its choice and then lift the suspension.
At this pivotal time, Cambodia needs a strong civil society and independent media, especially media outlets that critically examine government policy. We implore the authorities to reconsider their choice.
As Mr. Sen gets ready for elections that are expected to take place in the second part of the year, restrictions on media outlets have recently increased in Cambodia.