Cambodia shuts down media group after son of leader "insulted"

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia: In the latest crackdown on the country’s handful of independent media organizations, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen has ordered media broadcaster VOD to shut down for "slandering his son."

The article published by VOD, which also owns a radio station, centered around the signing of a government decision to donate $100,000 to relief assistance to earthquake victims in Turkey. It alleged that Lt. Gen. Hun Manet, an elder son of Hun Sen who is also the commander of the army and has been nominated by the ruling party to succeed his father in future elections, had signed the document on Hun Sen’s behalf.

Although Hun Sen had earlier given VOD 72 hours to verify the facts with the Information Ministry and to apologize to Hun Manet and the government, he later changed his mind and ordered the ministry to revoke VOD’s license.

Hun Sen said the article misinterpreted the facts and that only the prime minister has the authority to make decisions on foreign aid.

VOD said it was an unintentional mistake.

Hun Sen said VOD had until 10 a.m. February 13 to cease broadcasting.