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Threatened closure of Cambodian paper a press freedom issue

The Overseas Press Club of Cambodia has called for “transparency, fairness and due process” over the threatened closure of an English language newspaper which the club says has a history of angering the government with its reporting.

In early August The Cambodia Daily was issued with a US$6.1 million tax bill by the government, which claimed the newspaper owed taxes and interest going back more than a decade.

The Cambodia Daily’s owner disputes the debt, and according to the OPCC, “due process has not been followed” in the case.

The newspaper was given a month to pay the huge bill, with the September 4 deadline now fast approaching.

The targeting of the paper – which is described as doing “critically important reporting” in the country – is part of a wider crackdown on media outlets and civil society organisations in the lead-up to Cambodia’s 2018 general elections, local media reports.

Its threatened closure is being described as a human rights and press freedom issue by rights advocates and journalists in the region, who are running a social media campaign with the hashtag #SavetheDaily, to raise awareness about the threat.

Reuters report

Radio Free Asia report

Overseas Press Club of Cambodia press release

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