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Sunday, Sep 26, 2021
Outlook.com

From Cults To Causes

The evolution of the press in a nation at war with itself

From Cults To Causes
From Cults To Causes
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53
A string of recent assassinations and lawsuits has left the impression that Cambodia is a dangerous place to be a Cambodian journalist, which is true; and that the country's press is less than free, which too is basically true though with qualifications. As Harish Mehta reminds us, the United Nations peacekeeping mandate of 1991-93 brought with it, temporarily, a whole new set of rules.

"The sight of many former politician-journalists, erudite ideologues, and men of letters, signalled that the stage was set for the re-emergence of the Great Cambodian Debate," he writes. "The press reckoned it would have a field day. It was goodbye to the vapid days of the Hun Sen regime, and to its repressive press law."

The sudden eruption of newspapers, "at one level, reflected a visceral anger that was now bursting out; at another level, [they] passed off comment and innuendo as news. Though one of the poorest countries in the world with 60 per cent illiteracy, skewed development had given [Cambodia] the highest per capita newspaper availability in Southeast...

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