Phnom Penh Post Presses Grind to a Stop

Newspaper were sold at a local bookstore near the Hun Sen Bun Rany Phsar Doeum Thkov High School on March 1, 2024. Photo: Teng Yalirozy

PHNOM PENH – For sellers near the Stung Meanchey Primary School, the imminent closure of the print edition of the Phnom Penh Post came as no surprise.

The hard-copy publication will end on March 29 as the more than three-decade-old paper hit hard times and could not cope with its fall in revenue.

Sellers near the school said they can sell no more than 10 copies a day, not enough for them to care about the paper’s demise.

“One newspaper costs $0.25, and I can sell only 10 newspapers a day. That would be the lucky day for me. I don’t have any say about Phnom Penh Post,” one seller who preferred not to be named said.

Another seller near the Hun Sen Bun Rany Phsar Doeum Thkov High School said the newspapers are now only popular among the elderly. They bought them to read at the coffee shop with their friends. Without them, no newspapers could be sold.

“I used to sell 100 to 200 newspapers a day, but in these past years, the number has gone down,” she said. “Now, I could barely sell 10.”

The outlet has been in financial trouble since the COVID-19 pandemic, making it impossible to handle the revenue loss and the intense penetration of technology and social media in the traditional news industry.

The Post said it had tried in vain to generate income to sustain the publication.

“Despite these efforts, the company still cannot continue to bear such losses. Therefore, our shareholders have decided, with deep regret, to cease the publication of the newspaper, both the English and Khmer editions, by March 29, 2024,” it said.

The announcement made no mention of whether an online edition would remain.

In 1992, American Michael Hayes and Kathleen O'Keefe used $50,000 to launch the Phnom Penh Post, offering independent news and a stage for aspiring journalists to launch their careers in Cambodia.

Post Media publisher and CEO Ly Taysen could not be reached for comments.

The Post was sold to a Malaysian investor in 2018, resulting in resignations and a decline in independent reporting due to political pressure and limited advertising income.

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He collected data from six continents and 46 markets and found that younger groups prefer side-door routes such as social media, search, or mobile aggregators to get news.

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