Beehive Radio director Mam Sonando said yesterday that he was forced to postpone a planned demonstration in support of his bid for a television license as he had given authorities insufficient notice of what he hoped would be an ongoing protest.
On Friday, Sonando – whose Beehive is one of Cambodia’s few independent broadcasters – announced he would hold daily demonstrations in front of the Ministry of Information to demand permission to create a TV station and to seek increased reach for his radio signal.
“Phnom Penh Municipal Hall rejected the request to set up a demonstration aimed at increasing the radio broadcast capacity and connecting me to town-and-province sub-channels throughout the country, as well as to create a TV channel, by claiming that our request is not lawful,” Sonando said.
City spokesman Long Dimanche said yesterday that requests to demonstrate must be made to authorities at least five days before the demonstration is set to begin – something Sonando failed to do.
“He submitted the request to us on Friday and asked for the demonstration to be set up in front of the Ministry of Information on Sunday, so we invited him to discuss it, and suggested he prepare another letter … at least five days before the demonstration.”
Sonando – who served more than six months of a 20-year prison sentence on insurrection charges widely believed to have been trumped-up – said he had acquiesced and would file another letter today.
However, some Beehive Radio listeners yesterday called on Sonando to disregard City Hall’s request, saying that past, ignored attempts to seek increased radio frequency served as advance warning enough.
“[Protests] demanding increased salaries or reduced gasoline prices should have to ask for permission from the authorities, but for the case of Sonando’s demands, they should not be informed,” supporter Seng Sopheak said. “We have already asked for permission from the Ministry of Information, but they denied it once before.”