Cambodia | Freedom House

Freedom of the Press



Freedom of the Press 2004

2004 Scores

Press Status

Not Free

Press Freedom Score
(0 = best, 100 = worst)


Political Environment
(0 = best, 40 = worst)


Economic Environment
(0 = best, 30 = worst)


Freedoms of expression, the press, and publication are provided for in the constitution, and the government publicly professes to support these rights. However, although the press law provides journalists with several safeguards, it also permits the information ministry to suspend newspapers, broadly prohibits the publication of articles that affect national security and political stability, and subjects the press to criminal statutes. In recent years, authorities have used the press law to suspend several newspapers for 30-day periods for criticizing the government or monarchy. Moreover, the government in January detained a newspaper editor, and the owner of Cambodia's sole independent radio station, on charges of inciting anti-Thai riots by allegedly publishing or broadcasting unchecked rumors. Officials who made inflammatory statements during the incident did not face prosecution. Print journalists, who are freer than their broadcast counterparts, routinely criticize government policies and senior officials. Most broadcast media are controlled by the state, according to the World Press Freedom Committee, and programming favors the ruling party. Prior to the July elections, local watchdog groups noted that people were warned not to listen to foreign radio broadcasts and that opposition parties were not given adequate access to broadcast media outlets. Authorities have also denied repeated requests from opposition leader Sam Rainsy for a radio station license. The majority of private media outlets receive funding or subsidies from members of political parties. Journalists face some threats and harassment by the state and other actors. In October, unknown assailants killed Chuor Chetharith, an editor with an opposition radio station in Phnom Penh.