CAMBODIAN state television TVK - whose executives insist on "pro-government"
news coverage - has been talking with Australia's ABC among others about a
TVK (Television of Kampuchea) has approached several
foreign companies, including ABC, in a bid to modernize its station, according
to a senior official who would not be named.
TVK staff acknowledge that
its newscasts are "based on the government political line" and are
The TV station's desire for a foreign partner reflects the
expanding and competitive nature of Cambodia's television services.
are currently three TV stations: TVK; Thai-owned International Broadcasting
Corporation (IBC), which has also practiced self-censorship of political news;
and the Khmer privately-owned TV9. All three stations are largely
A fourth station, Kampuchea Communication Siam
(KCS), is expected to begin broadcasting soon after its new equipment is
KCS is a joint project with the Phnom Penh Municipality, which
has said the station will be designed to serve the Royal government and the
Meanwhile, the existing three stations, all run for profit,
are increasingly changing their programming to vie for larger
In mid January, TVK increased its air time from four hours to
nine hours per day. Movies and entertainment shows are being screened at night,
and news during the day.
Mao Ayuth, TVK's deputy general director, said
the program re-arrangement was to avoid overlapping with other stations and to
protect audience share. "We don't want to make competition, but we want to
demand more audiences."
An emphasis was put on news programs because "we
are the government television. We do whatever to let people know about the
French firm Canal France International has begun a
10-minute, three day a week program on politics, economics, international and
magazine news on TVK.
The only private Khmer station, TV9, returned to
the airwaves in early January after a few months' absence to allow its equipment
to be upgraded. It screens mainly Chinese movies, but also provides local and
international news. Spokesman Pen Narith said the station was awaiting results
of a public survey before deciding on any programming changes.
Prum Kim said that, while the television business was becoming more competitive,
the company was confident of maintaining a good audience share. "I am not
excited over TV9," he said.