Voice of Democracy (VOD) in Cambodia went off air on Monday as Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen revoked the media license and ordered shutdown of one of Cambodia's remaining independent news organisations.
Following the government order, the Phnom Penh-based nonprofit radio station, which was launched in 2003, ceased all its broadcasts at 10 am (local time) Monday, according to reports.
Several dozens protested against the shutdown of VOD and international rights groups condemned Hun Sen's action.
The reason cited by Hun Sen as mentioned in NPR news was that VOD published "incorrect information" involving his son, Hun Manet, a Lieutenant General and a high-level commander of the Royal Cambodian Army, in a February 9 report.
The radio station had reported that Lt Gen Hun Manet, a government deputy who is set to succeed his father as prime minister, allegedly signed off on $100,000 aid to Turkey last week — an action that Prime Minister Hun Sen claimed only he has the authority to carry out, according to NPR report.
The NPR report on published February 13 stated VOD posted an apology on Facebook and said it would send its official apology to the prime minister's office the next morning. But the Cambodian leader refused to accept the VOD's apology saying that the February 9 report offended both him and his son.
The development, which comes ahead of national election in July, drew flaks from rights groups across the world.
"Going after VOD is a good indication that scheduled July 23 poll will be neither free nor fair," Human Rights Watch Deputy Asia Director Phil Robertson said in a statement.
VOD was run by nongovernmental organization Cambodian Center for Independent Media. It publishes in both Khmer and English.