Voice of Democracy

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Voice of Democracy
Native name
TypeNews agency
FoundedJanuary 2003; 20 years ago (January 2003)
DefunctFebruary 13, 2023 (2023-02-13)
Area served
ParentCambodian Center for Independent Media

Voice of Democracy (Khmer: សំលេងប្រជាធិបតេយ្យ; abbreviated VOD) was an independent news agency based in Cambodia. VOD has provided significant investigative journalism within Cambodia, providing coverage on domestic issues including corruption, government wrongdoing, human rights violations, and environmental destruction, which have drawn the ire of Cambodian officials.[1][2] Following the Cambodian government's media crackdown in 2017, VOD, alongside Radio Free Asia and Voice of America, became an increasingly important news source for Cambodians.[3] It was shuttered by the Cambodian government on 13 February 2023.[4]


VOD began as a non-profit radio station which first aired in January 2003 under the supervision of the Cambodian Center for Human Rights.[5] In 2007, it was moved under the Cambodian Center for Independent Media (CCIM).[5] VOD launched online news portals in 2013.[5]

VOD became an increasingly important media outlet after the Cambodian government shuttered the independent The Cambodia Daily and forced the sale of The Phnom Penh Post to a pro-government owner in 2017.[1][6] VOD launched its English language version in 2019 to fill a void in independent English language media.[7]

In February 2023, Cambodia's prime minister Hun Sen revoked VOD's operating license, in retaliation for a VOD news article that alleged Sen's son, Hun Manet, had violated existing policy by approving a foreign aid package for the 2023 Turkey–Syria earthquake.[1][8] VOD's closure was condemned by organisations including Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, the United Nations, and the American and German governments.[2][9][10][11] HRW described the shutdown as a "devastating blow to media freedom in [Cambodia]."[1] The US Department of State called the Cambodian government's response "particularly troubling" on its detrimental impact to freedom of speech and access to 2023 Cambodian general election coverage.[12]


In 2004, Oudam Tat, a VOD radio reporter, was awarded Reporters Without Borders' Information Hero award.[13]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d "Cambodia: Hun Sen Extinguishes Media Freedom". Human Rights Watch. 2023-02-14. Retrieved 2023-03-10.
  2. ^ a b Ratcliffe, Rebecca (2023-02-13). "Dictator Hun Sen shuts down Cambodia's VOD broadcaster". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2023-03-10.
  3. ^ "Cambodia: Freedom on the Net 2018 Country Report". Freedom House. Retrieved 2023-03-10.
  4. ^ "Cambodia independent radio station VoD closes on PM's orders". AP NEWS. 2023-02-13. Retrieved 2023-03-10.
  5. ^ a b c "New Players - Voice of Democracy (VOD)". Cambodian Center for Independent Media.
  6. ^ "Cambodia Daily newspaper closes in government tax row". BBC News. 2017-09-03. Retrieved 2023-03-10.
  7. ^ Brook, Jack; Phin, Rathana (2023-02-13). "Cambodia's Hun Sen shuts down independent media outlet". Al Jazeera. Retrieved 2023-03-10.
  8. ^ "Cambodia's Hun Sen shuts down independent media outlet Voice of Democracy". BBC News. 2023-02-13. Retrieved 2023-03-10.
  9. ^ "A Statement from U.S. Embassy Phnom Penh on Voice of Democracy". U.S. Embassy in Cambodia. 2023-02-13.
  10. ^ "Cambodia: UN experts call for reinstatement of Voice of Democracy, say free media critical ahead of elections". OHCHR. Retrieved 2023-03-10.
  11. ^ Chen, Heather (2023-02-14). "Voice of Democracy, one of Cambodia's last independent media outlets, has been shut down | CNN Business". CNN. Retrieved 2023-03-10.
  12. ^ "Cambodia independent radio station VoD closes on PM's orders". ABC News. 2023-02-12. Retrieved 2023-03-10.
  13. ^ "Cambodian Reporter Receives 'Information Hero' Award". VOA. Retrieved 2023-03-10.

External links[edit]