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Cambodia gets its very own version of YouTube

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Cambodia gets its very own version of YouTube

ASPIRING filmmakers and video artists in Cambodia have faced many

challenges over the years, including lack of access to equipment and

training, lax enforcement of intellectual property rights, and lack of

distribution.

CamboTube addresses the latter problem by using the model of YouTube to create an independent media platform for these artists.

"CamboTube is a poor man's broadcasting system," said Jason Rosette,

the mastermind behind the video-sharing website and the founder of

Camerado, a media company responsible for Cambofest, the only

independent film festival in Cambodia.

"The beauty of CamboTube is that people can post virtually anything on it," Rosette said.

Launched in October 2007, CamboTube.com is a dedicated to clips about

Cambodia and the region. Users of the website can upload and view film

and and video clips, as well as video blogs and amateur short videos.

Rosette describes the site as a "social experiment to see whether

people would use it," with current fare ranging from a clip of a fat

monkey eating a coconut to early archival footage of Phnom Penh and a

documentary about the importance of protecting Tonle Sap.

Cambotube is a poor man’s broadcasting system.

Users can upload clips under a wide variety of categories (or channels)

including: general interests (nothing too edgy), social affairs

affecting Cambodia; clips dealing with the history of Cambodia;

i-reporter (showing news and opinions from Cambodia and the region);

videos, news and perspectives regarding the Khmer Rouge trials; and

videos by and about indigenous groups in Cambodia.
"People are free to use CamboTube to voice their views," Rossette said.

"Anyone could ask for assistance to make a video - even a person in

Mondulkiri involved in a land dispute."

CamboTube only screens for copyright violations or breaches of legal,

moral, or ethical standards, Rosette said, adding that pornographic or

revolutionary anti-government material would not make the grade.

"If someone has a strong anti-government sentiment, I would advise them to set up their own portal," he said.

Through private sector media platforms such as CamboTube and CamboFest

that encourage independent participation, Rossette said he hoped to

undermine the "culture of patronage" in Cambodia.

Free of patronage

Rosette says  the site will enable people to get their work seen even

though it is not sponsored or patronised by a donor with their own

agenda.

"Pluralist perspectives [show] society that they don't have to be led

by the hand and that they can operate independently," Rossette said.

"People can express themselves independently, not just under the

umbrella of an NGO.... NGOs in fact reduce participation in the private

sector."

He added, "The culture of participation among Khmers and expats in

Cambodia isn't strong. There's not a lot of sharing of resources. The

density of NGOs is warping the culture."

Camerado has plans to expand CamboTube once the website receives a

certain level of interest, although Rosette acknowledges that, until

broadband becomes more robust in the country, CamboTube is unlikely to

become a huge phenomenon.  But he has long-term plans.

"Once broadband becomes more robust in the country and the site more

popular, I am planning to create a weekly walk-in studio for people who

don't know how to use the technology but want to voice their opinions,"

Rosette said.

"I want to show the government that Cambodia can have independent media and that people will not necessarily become radical."

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