Ministry Of Information Decides To Cancel CCIM Center License (VOD) For Violation Serenity On The Journalism Profession Affects Government Dignity


Prime Minister Hun Sen announced the government will revoke the license for media outlet VOD in a Facebook post on February 12, 2023 after he previously demanded an apology for an article he claimed was inaccurate.

“I decided to finish this issue and allow the Ministry of Information to revoke VOD’s license now and finish all broadcasting by 10 a.m. on February 13, 2023,” he wrote in Khmer. “We shut down all forms of broadcasting…”

On February 11, Hun Sen posted on his Facebook page demanding VOD issue a public apology to the government and his son within 72 hours and retract a Khmer language article published on February 9 or face the loss of their media license. He shortened the deadline in a subsequent post to 10 a.m. February 13.

The article had reported that the Prime Minister’s son, Lieutenant General Hun Manet, had signed off on an order for $100,000 in aid to earthquake-stricken Turkey in his father’s absence.

Government spokesperson Phay Siphan was quoted in the article saying in Khmer “it is not wrong for Hun Manet to play his father’s role in providing aid to Turkey.” But Hun Manet, set to assume leadership of the ruling Cambodian People’s Party once his father retires, denied in a subsequent social media post that he had signed off on the document. Hun Manet demanded an immediate correction and for VOD to provide evidence of his signature on the document authorizing aid.

While staff from Cambodian Center for Independent Media — the NGO which created and runs VOD — met with the Ministry of Information in the morning of February 12, the situation was not resolved.

VOD Khmer published a follow-up article to note Hun Manet denied signing the document and CCIM sent a letter to Hun Sen earlier on Sunday stating it had “regret” for “confusion” caused by the article.

“VOD always follows the principles of the journalistic code of conduct,” the statement said. “Once again, VOD expresses regret and asks forgiveness if [VOD] has done any unintentional wrong-doing to Samdech Prime Minister.”

By around 7 p.m. on the same day, Hun Sen issued his Facebook post ordering the Ministry of Information to revoke VOD’s license. He said he had been unsatisfied with VOD’s response to his ultimatum, noting the outlet had declined to apologize and use the words he wanted.

“Is it acceptable to use the words of regret and forgiveness instead of the word apologize?” Hun Sen said in the post. “For me, I cannot accept it.”

Already, as of the morning of February 13, access to VOD’s websites - both Khmer and English - appears to have been blocked by major internet service providers and mobile service providers within Cambodia.

“Is the explanation here intended to put the blame on government officials?” he added.

Minister of Information Khieu Kanharith posted on his Facebook page that other media sites should take notice.

“It is a lesson learned for other media institutions,” he said. “The media institutions that do not agree to publish clarifications, [they] will face the revocation of their licenses.”

Number of attacked persons or entities related to media
Do they work as freelance or media?
Position in media
Status of journalists
Phnom Penh Capital
Full name or name of group
The name of perpetrator (individual/group)
Prime Minister Hun Sen
Attack mention about gender background/sexual wording?
Date of incident
Year of incident
Type of incident
Closure or suspension of media outlet by authority