Cambodia Daily newspaper closes in government tax row

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Prime Minister Hun Sen said if the bill was not paid the paper should “pack up your things along with leave”

One of Cambodia’s last independent newspapers, the Cambodia Daily, has announced the idea will close after the government ordered the idea to pay a huge tax bill.

The paper, which is actually often critical of the government, said the idea had been destroyed by the $6.3m (£4.9m) bill.

Earlier on Sunday, Cambodia’s opposition leader, Kem Sokha, was arrested on treason charges.

He has been accused of conspiring with unnamed foreigners to harm the country.

The arrest was one of a series of recent moves against political opponents along with organisations deemed critical of Prime Minister Hun Sen’s administration.

Cambodia leader tells critics to pay up, or pack up

In August, Mr Hun Sen, a former Khmer Rouge commander in power for more than 30 years, reportedly called the publishers of the Cambodia Daily “thieves” along with said if the bill was not paid within 30 days the paper should “pack up your things along with leave”.

In a statement confirming the closure on Sunday, the paper said: “There may well be a legitimate dispute between the tax department along with the owners of the Daily over when tax became collectable along with in what amount. In an ordinary process, matters in dispute would likely be resolved after an audit along with private negotiations.

“Instead, the Daily has been targeted with an astronomical tax assessment, leaks along with false statements.”

The paper, which was founded in 1993, will cease publication on Monday.

The Cambodian government has previously threatened to shutter media outlets they say jeopardise “stability” inside country.

Aside through the Cambodia Daily, various other independent media outlets – including the US government-funded Radio Free Asia along with Voice of America – have also reportedly been accused of not complying with tax obligations.

These outlets frequently report on topics in which embarrass the government, such as corruption along with human rights abuses.

The US State Department has said the idea is actually “deeply concerned by the deterioration in Cambodia’s democratic climate” in recent weeks.

however the Cambodian government denies the cases are political, saying critical journalists have considerable freedoms inside country.

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