It was a bad year for press freedom. Prime Minister Hun Sen, who likes to dismiss journalists as “frog hunters”, attacked the most critical voices. The head of government harassed journalists who investigated the signing of a controversial border agreement with Vietnam.
The arrest in October 2005 of Mam Sonando, head of one of the country’s very few independent radio stations, provided a signal about the intentions of the government. Accused of having defamed the prime minister in an interview with a French-based opposition figure on the border question, the founder of Sombok Khmum (Beehive FM 105), faces charges of “broadcasting false reports” and “incitement to a crime”. As of 1st January 2006, Mam Sonando was still in prison and suffering harsh conditions.
After this, associates of Hun Sen threatened to have arrested two correspondents for international radios Voice of America and Radio Free Asia, who were forced to flee the country.
In 2005, Radio France Internationale, in particular its programmes in the Khmer language, was allowed to broadcast in the capital on FM. Meanwhile, the French-language daily Cambodge Soir celebrated its tenth anniversary.
Annual report 2006 Khmer