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Chinese TV deal edged out Sonando: minister

Beehive Radio director Mam Sonando will not be granted a digital TV licence because up to 80 channels have been allocated to a Chinese state television network.

Khieu Kanharith, the minister of information, said in an interview on TVK on Tuesday night that the allocation of between 70 and 80 channels to Yunnan province’s state television network meant the ministry was “lacking frequencies”.

“We will provide it for Yunnan province of China because it is a centre for relations between ASEAN and China. Yunnan is signing with TVK to create a TV [network] that has some 80 channels,” he said.

He did not elaborate on what the channels would broadcast, or what local firm the station had agreed to partner with.

Kanharith added that the government did not feel it should grant Sonando a licence because it saw him as affiliated with the Cambodia National Rescue Party, and the law does not state that parties have the right to run TV stations.

“He says not allowing him a TV channel is a freedom restriction.… Currently, Beehive Radio Station is carping on at the government and we are still patient. And [so are] others such as Sarika, VOA and RFA,” Kanharith said.

Regarding Sonando’s requests for wider radio coverage, Kanharith said that Beehive already has some of the best equipment of any private radio station, including an antenna 40 metres taller than its competitors'.

Sonando, he added, should first pay back the $75,000 he owes the government before trying to establish a TV station.

Sonando said yesterday that he intended to pay the money he owed to the Ministry of Information, but he could not afford to do so.

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