Twenty months after Thai films were pulled from Cambodian television channels following
the anti-Thai riots, Thailand's Ambassador Piyawat Niyomrerks says they should return
as fair competition in line with the spirit of World Trade Organization (WTO) agreement.
"I think the Thai screen drama should be given a chance to compete in this Cambodian
market. This is fair competition under the WTO principles," Piyawat told the
Post on September 29, after discussions with Deputy PM Sok An and Khieu Kanharith,
Minister of Information.
Piyawat said the Thailand-Cambodian Commission on Promotion of Cultural Cooperation
had been actively working for better understanding, and sharing of knowledge and
experience in cultural heritage and conservation.
He said the relationship between Thailand and Cambodia had been strengthened in many
aspects and the political relationship was stronger
"It would send a clear message to the world that Cambodia and Thailand have
normalized their relationship if we could see more Thai films and Thai drama in Cambodia,"
However, Sok An said after the meeting Piyawat that the two countries need more time
to exchange views on cultural cooperation.
Mon Samith, a student at the Faculty of Business and Economic at Pannasastra University
of Cambodia (PUC) said that even though Cambodia had to abide by the WTO agreement,
as a least developed country it had the right to subsidize its local industries.
"Thai films should not be allowed on local television stations because it could
kill our fragile film industry," said Mon, who said he spoke for other students
"We are concerned that riots against Thai businesses might occur again if movies
about the ancient times return to television," said Mon.
He said many television stations in Phnom Penh have Cambodian and Thai shareholders.
Khieu Kanharith, Minister of Information, said the government had never ordered that
Thai films be banned from local television. Thai films were voluntarily removed by
station directors following the riots on January 29, 2003. Thai films had proved
even more popular than films from China and Hollywood, he said.
Mon claimed that some television stations had begun showing Thai films or Thai drama.
But the Post has monitored all seven local channels since September 21; there were
no Thai films shown, only Thai business advertising.