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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Blue videos shake old traditions

Blue videos shake old traditions

A continuing trade in sex videos and films - including some made in Cambodia -

is upsetting the Minister of Culture and Arts as he promotes a return to old

Khmer values and traditions.

Nuth Narang said such pornography was still

freely available, particularly in Phnom Penh, despite a ban on the sale or

showing of sex films since the State of Cambodia regime in the 1980s.

The

government had been unable to take any effective measures to stop the flowing of

sex films into Cambodia. Meanwhile, some videos were being produced in the

country with Khmer actors.

At Psar Thmey (New market), the Post saw many

sex videos from Germany, the United States, Thailand, Hong Kong, India, Japan

and Vietnam openly on sale.

When asked, one vendor produced a Khmer tape,

saying it was "a good Khmer sex tape with Khmer actors...they speak in

Khmer".

He also had foreign video tapes which had been dubbed over in

Khmer, he said.

The vendor said some tapes had been seized at Cambodia's

western border from smugglers trying to import them, but were not destroyed.

Police later sold the tapes for $1.50 each to video vendors, who re-sold them

for about $2.

Other vendors said that their sales of sex videos had been

highest during the UNTAC period - they had been a big hit with some foreign

soldiers and observers - and had since fallen.

Meanwhile, some Phnom Penh

cinemas also screen sex films. At least two cinemas, though they do not

advertise their films as sex shows, are widely-known for running such films. One

of them is currently closed.

Nuth Narang said the Ministry of Culture and

Arts was keen to crack down on the public screening of sex films, but sometimes

they were shown in secret places the ministry did not know about.

Other

venues were guarded by armed men, who threatened authorities if they tried to

close them down.

He said a lack of a clear division of responsibility

between government agencies - including the Ministry of Culture and Arts, the

Ministry of Information, the Department of Films and Videos and the Phnom Penh

Municipality - made it harder to effectively combat the sex film

trade.

Narang was concerned about the influence such films had on Khmer

youth. Traditionally, Khmer girls would never consider participating in

pornography, he said, and were shy even about things such as love.

"When

they talk about love, they never talk directly," he said.

He said he

accepted that democracy and human rights gave everybody the right to "do what

they want," but "they must respect our law and national traditions."

A

20-year-old Phnom Penh girl told the Post she had watched sex videos with her

sister and brother-in-law, and had first learned "tactics of love" from

them.

Other Khmers spoke of sex films being shown at night on closed

circuit television at some Phnom Penh hostels and hotels.

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