The airwaves of Cambodia gained a new independent voice on May 1, as Radio Australia
began broadcasting news and current affairs on FM102.
Every day at noon, the frequency run by the NGO-supported Women's Media Center (WMC)
will air a half-hour program featuring international-standard news, current affairs
and features in Khmer language, as well as regular news bulletins in English.
The cooperation was made official by the signing of a memorandum of understanding
between the WMC and Australian Broadcasting Corporation on April 28.
FM 102 also launched a one-hour youth call-in show last weekend called Os Tos Mhong
or "Cool", that it hopes will be a forum for talk about sex, health and
Most Phnom Penh radio stations broadcast along political lines and Radio Australia
(RA) will join the British Broadcasting Corporation, Voice of America and Radio Free
Asia in offering an international alternative.
"We'd like to think that it contributes to creating a culture of more open media,"
said Jean-Gabriel Manguy, head of RA.
Manguy said RA has been available in Cambodia via short wave radio since 1992 and
for the last four years RA staff have emailed radio news stories to be read on Cambodian
The news and current affairs content will be produced by four staff in Melbourne,
with input from two stringers in Phnom Penh, and will be relayed live by satellite.
RA also plans to broadcast on five or six provincial stations.
Karen Lanyon, first secretary at the Australian Embasssy, said the programs would
boost the independence of Cambodia's media and strengthen links between the two countries.