There has been major upheaval at Cambodia’s Phnom Penh Post. Sivakumar Ganapathy, the new owner of the English-language daily, ordered the newspaper’s editor-in-chief Kay Kimsong to unpublish an article about him. Kimsong said no, and was fired. Then, 13 journalists with the paper quit in protest, the Press Gazette reported.
The article about Ganapathy reported on “links between his public relations firm and the Hun Sen government.” Ganapathy claims the article is inaccurate. iMediaEthics has written to Ganapathy’s lawyer to ask what he claims is inaccurate, and to the Phnom Penh Post to ask if there is any new information regarding resignations.
Some of those who resigned were managing editor Stuart White, digital director Jodie DeJonge, web editor Jenni Reid, business editor Brendan O’Byrne, senior journalist Ananth Baliga and CEO Marcus Holmes, according to a news story by the Phnom Penh Post.
O’Byrne and Baliga share the byline for the May 6 article in question. “The article, published on Sunday, included several quotes raising concerns about the new ownership, including that Sivakumar Ganapathy’s agency, Asia PR, listed “Cambodia and Hun Sen’s entry into the Government seat” as one of its former clients, according to the BBC.
O’Byrne tweeted May 7 confirming he resigned after being told to take down his story. Baliga likewise tweeted that “the new owner of the @phnompenhpost ordered us to take down the article detailing the sale of the newspaper. I will not be returning to work at the Post.”
The article in question appears to have been unpublished; iMediaEthics has written to Byrne asking for more information including to ask if in fact the article was removed after his resignation.
After being ordered to remove my story regarding the sale of the Phnom Penh Post from the website by new management, I refused and offered my resignation, which was accepted. I wish the fantastic journalists at The Post all the best.
— Brendan O'Byrne (@BrendanOByrne) May 7, 2018
Comment from former managing editor Stuart White: pic.twitter.com/BNCc8uW6Pj
— Erin Handley (@erinahandley) May 7, 2018
The new owner of the @phnompenhpost ordered us to take down the article detailing the sale of the newspaper. I will not be returning to work at the Post. I am devastated at the prospect of not being able to work everyday with the some of best journalists I know. I wish them well.
— Ananth Baliga (@antbaliga) May 7, 2018
According to that story, the Post replaced editor Kimsong with Joshua Purushotman and owner Ganapathy’s lawyer Ly Tayseng will now approve stories.