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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - TV5 screens songs lauding military in new schedules

TV5 screens songs lauding military in new schedules

LOCAL television station TV5 has recently broadcast a flurry of new pro-military songs – accompanied by film clips – as part of a broader effort to increase military-related programming after criticism from Prime Minister Hun Sen three months ago, a TV5 employee said Monday.

Houng Daramony, assistant programme manager at TV5, said Monday that the station had received a total of 120 songs from the military since the premier’s speech, 40 of which had come in the past two weeks.

“They are singing about the work and sacrifice of soldiers,” and more songs are being produced, he said.

“It is good for us to have these songs to show people what the military does, and also for the military to enjoy and to strengthen their spirits to defend the border,” he said.

In a speech to Royal Cambodian Armed Forces (RCAF) soldiers in late February, Hun Sen said TV5 had not done enough to promote the military, and ordered the Ministry of Defence, which partly owns the station, to sever its partnership with Mica Media Co Ltd, the Thailand-based co-owner.

One song described by Houng Daramony on Monday addresses border clashes with Thai soldiers near Preah Vihear temple.

Its lyrics read in part: “The armed forces’ hearts in Brigade 8 have made sacrifices to defend the nation / Their stance is firm, and they could not be compared / We determine to defend the value of the sovereignty / And we do not allow the enemy to invade and to lose 1 millimetre.”

When asked about the intended effect of the song, Houng Daramony said: “It is an art, but it strongly helps to make the military be brave and defend and love the nation.”

He added that the station had increased military-related programming from around one hour per day to between two and three hours per day after the premier’s speech.

Chum Sambath, an undersecretary of state at the Ministry of Defence, on Monday said he was satisfied with the recent programming changes.

“I see the station has increased its news on military activities,” he said, and added that he believes the station has enjoyed increased advertising revenue as a result of the changes.

“It has made a lot of money from advertisements,” he said. “RCAF information is very important for listeners.”

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