Cambodia’s press freedom ranking has plunged 10 places to 142 out of a total of 180 countries in in the just released World Press Freedom Index, according to The Phnom Penh Post Online on Thursday.
World Press Freedom described that Cambodia “seems dangerously inclined to take the same path as China after closing down dozens of independent media outlets and plunging ten places, one of the biggest falls in the region.”
It added: “Prime Minister Hun Sen’s regime launched a ruthless offensive against media freedom in 2017…His suppression of independent voices, his increased dominance of the mass media and his meticulous control of social media are a disturbing echo of the methods used in China, which has invested millions of euros in Cambodia’s pro-government media.”
More than 30 independent radio stations were closed last year and Cambodia Daily, an English-language newspaper, was forced to shut down in September by a $6.3 million tax bill. Both Voice of American and Radio Free Asia were forced to curtail their operations.
Radio Free Asia Libby Liu said the report was absolutely correct in noting the dramatic decline in the Kingdom’s press freedom.
Once a leader in Southeast Asia for independent press, Cambodia now ranks below Thailand and Myanmar, but still above Laos Vietnam and Singapore.
Director of Union of Journalists Federation of Cambodia Huy Vannak said he was not concerned with the new ranking.