Congressman Alan Lowenthal (CA-47) today issued the following statement on the announced closure of Radio Free Asia (RFA) operations inside Cambodia due to ongoing pressure and intimidation from the regime of Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen:
“The Hun Sen regime is making it perfectly clear that it has no intention of allowing a free press to exist in Cambodia, and the government appears ready to use any contrivance it can—intimidation, threats, coercion, and even outright violence—to prevent the people of Cambodia from having independent, reliable, and trustworthy news that is not filtered through the Hun Sen lens.
“RFA in Cambodia has faced a growing escalation of rhetoric from the Hun Sen regime, and now, for the safety of its staff, RFA has been forced to cease operations within Cambodia. It joins the Cambodia Daily newspaper, numerous non-governmental agencies, as well as FM broadcast stations that have been forced to close by the government.
“The democratic principles that the Cambodia people are guaranteed under their constitution are being destroyed—one at a time—by the Hun Sen government and I am appalled.
“The right of political expression, the right of a free media, and the right to dissent, are all being quashed by Hun Sen in an effort to subvert free and fair national elections in Cambodia scheduled for next year.
“This is a crisis situation and I will call on the United States ambassador to Cambodia as well as the Secretary of State to express my concern and urge them to take any and all action to stop this out of control situation and assist the Cambodian people.”