Cambodia: Switching off Independent Radio

Across Cambodia, nearly a dozen independent radio stations broadcasting through 32 radio frequencies in almost every province have seen their licenses suspended without notice.

In addition to their own programming, the stations had all sold airtime to the US-funded Radio Free Asia and Voice of America, as well as local broadcaster Voice of Democracy. Many had also sold airtime to the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party, as well as to several of the country's small parties.

Last week, the US-funded Radio Free Asia closed its Phnom Penh bureau, switching from an open, in-country radio broadcaster to an offshore model that mimics its operations in countries such as Tibet and North Korea. The broadcaster - Cambodia's most popular - said it had little choice but to close in light of the current media climate.

Al Jazera reports that Cambodia's ruling party has intensified pressure on the media, NGOs, and the opposition in recent months, ahead of the July 2018 elections - which are expected to be extremely contentious.