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.
Radio Free Asia report
Overseas Press Club of Cambodia press release