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Mobile news network to launch

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Khmer Express 24-hour service in Cambodian language targets youth on cellphones

Photo by:

Heng Chivoan

Students use mobiles in Kampong Cham. Khmer Express hopes to reach young Cambodians with its Khmer-language service.

MEDIA company Khmer Express plans to launch a new mobile phone news service allowing users to receive instant bulletins on their mobile phones in Khmer, the company said. Starting March 1, subscribers will receive 24-hour bulletins on their mobile phones, written by a team of reporters located in Phnom Penh, it said.

The service is targeted at young people, it said, and includes a website - costing US$30,000 in investment - that allows users to log on for more coverage of current events.

"We hope to attract at least 3,000 subscribers to the news service in the first six months," said company spokesman Tep Chanreaksmey.

"Our main objective is to provide information in Khmer on education, development and economic growth to students," he said.

Subscribers will receive short bulletins on phones that use the 012, 011, 016 and 098 networks for a fee of $1 per month.

"We plan to link our news to all permanently licensed phone companies in the country in the future, and we will stop charging for the service when there are more than 50,000 subscribers," Tep Chanreaksmey said.

"I think that providing news through cell phones can help keep people stay informed faster and more easily because most teenagers in Cambodia use a mobile phone," said Tep Chanreaksmey. World Bank figures say about 2.6 million Cambodians had mobile phones at the end of 2008.

So Khun, minister of Posts and Telecommunications, said that the mobile phone market for young people remains strong, but had no figures on phone use among young people.

We plan to link

our news to all

permanently licensed phone companies.

Information Minister Khieu Kanharith welcomed Khmer Express, providing it offers a quality news service.
"I do not object to the launching of this media website as the information ministry always adheres to the saying: As long as the information is new, true and trustworthy, they can release anywhere they want to," said Khieu Kanharith. "We expect that youth will be able to get information very fast through cellphones."

Pen Samithy, president of the Cambodian Journalist Club, said that he welcomed the news website, but said he hoped it would motivate readers to look at more than simple information bites.

"I think that this is an extra news source for readers, but I do not think that it will be able to compete with the news published in papers," he said.

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