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Hun Sen blasts TV5’s lineup

PM says station fails to air his speeches or serve RCAF interests

PRIME Minister Hun Sen criticised the TV5 television station on Saturday, saying it broadcasts little about the military despite being partially owned by the Ministry of Defence.

Speaking to soldiers of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces (RCAF) in Battambang province, the premier impugned the network for neglecting to broadcast his speeches at Preah Vihear and Tamone Thom temples last month, and ordered the Ministry of Defence to cancel its partnership with a private Thai company in operating TV5.

TV5 “has been bearing the name of the RCAF, but it does not broadcast the work of the army,” Hun Sen said. “I will not allow it to use the name of the RCAF anymore – just call it TV5.”

Hun Sen singled out General Neang Phat, a secretary of state at the Ministry of Defence and director of TV5, for criticism, saying that he had failed to serve the military’s interest despite his decorations.

“He has a lot of stars, but those stars are useless. They did not work and did not affect TV5’s programming, so please sell all your shares to me,” Hun Sen said. TV5 “has never broadcasted my speeches at all, even when I am visiting the army.”

The prime minister called on Minister of Defence Tea Banh to investigate the process of severing the association between the RCAF and TV5, or else shutting down TV5 completely.

Neang Phat said the joint venture between the Thai company and the RCAF had been established in 1994, adding that he hopes it will continue once TV5 makes changes in its lineup.

“We will try to have a meeting with the company to initiate reforms in our programming to produce more programmes related to the army,” Neang Phat said Sunday.

Ministry of Defence spokesman Chhum Socheat said Sunday that he was not sure what percentage of TV5 shares is owned by the government.

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