The Phnom Penh Post in Cambodia to Close Due to Financial Issues

The Phnom Penh Post, which has been published in the capital of Cambodia for more than 30 years, said on Friday that it will cease publication of its editions in Khmer and English by the end of the month due to declining readership and revenue as well as an incapacity on the part of the stockholders to “bear such losses.” Its shutdown is a further setback to press freedom in Cambodia, which has been strained since former Prime Minister Hun Sen launched a government crackdown on political dissent almost eight years ago.

 

The management of the company released a statement in its Friday morning edition, stating, “Our shareholders have been trying to inject more funds and generate income by all means to restore the financial condition of the company and continue publishing this independent, professional newspaper, which has been operating for more than 30 years.” Thus, the statement went on, “Our stockholders have chosen, with great regret, to stop publishing the newspaper by March 29, 2024, in both the English and Khmer editions. With their $50,000 life savings, American Michael Hayes and Kathleen O’Keefe founded the Phnom Penh Post in 1992 while UN soldiers were still arriving in Cambodia and the nation was still embroiled in conflict.

 

It gained a reputation for independent journalism that was tough on the subject of Cambodia and its tragic past, all the while remaining sympathetic to the people of that country. It served as a training ground for aspiring young journalists as well. “I’ve spent the last 10 years not getting paid to worry about money every day; how this paper survived is an absolute mystery to me,” Hayes remarked on the newspaper’s tenth anniversary. In 2008, Hayes sold the newspaper to Bill Clough, an Australian mining entrepreneur. Despite the publication switching from fortnightly to daily editions, its independence was upheld.

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