Pin made the feared dictator cry.
Thursday afternoon, Roger and his wife and business partner Soben were all smiles as city officials and leaders of Lowell’s Cambodian community gathered to welcome them and their newspaper, Khmer Post USA to their new offices on the second floor of the historic Hildreth Building at 45 Merrimack St.
Roger Pin left Cambodia for France one month before the Khmer Rouge took control of the nation. He lost his entire family in the genocide.
Returning to Cambodia in 1992, he established Free Citizen News and was elected President of the Khmer Journalist Association of Cambodia in 1994, the first since the 1979 fall of the Khmer Rouge.
He used his position to fight for freedom of the press in Cambodia, as well as to establish journalism classes at Phnom Penh University, taking stands against the government and often finding himself in positions where his life was threatened.
Pin was forced to flee to Bangkok following Second Prime Minister Hun Sen’s overthrow of Prime Minister Norodom Ranaridh, a movement that crushed the nation’s emerging free press.
In Bangkok, Pin quickly became the voice of Radio Free Asia and in March 1998 was appointed the Director of Cambodian Services for (RFA) in Washington D.C.
Khmer Post USA, a bi-weekly free newspaper was born in Philadelphia in April 2008. Pin said he wanted to create accurate news source for which Cambodian-Americans could rely for local, national and international news.
The paper, which this week published its 133rd issue, began being distributed in Lowell in 2010.
While Roger is the publisher of the newspaper, Soben has been the public face. She is all over Lowell, notebook and camera in hand.
Khmer Post USA serves the Cambodian communities along the east coast (PA, NJ, NY, CT, RI, MA, and NH), with a circulation of 5,000 in Lowell.
Roger and Soben are working to increase that circulation as they get to know more about the people and issues of Lowell. The newspaper is mostly written in Khmer, but does also include some articles in English to appeal to help bridge the generation gap.
Additionally, Middlesex North Register of Deeds and local historian Richard Howe Jr. has begun writing a column for the paper, which is translated into Khmer.
For more information visit www.khmerpostusa.com.