Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Election gag: Calls made for overturn of media ban

Election gag: Calls made for overturn of media ban

Election gag: Calls made for overturn of media ban

Civil society organisations and local communities yesterday called on the government to cancel an order banning all media from broadcasting foreign election-related reports in the five days before the election.

The joint statement, signed by 21 civil society groups, comes after the government on Saturday rescinded a June 25 ban that imposed a 31-day block on foreign radio broadcasts, after it became public and caused widespread outrage on Friday.

It strongly condemned an earlier ban issued on June 21 – prohibiting foreign media reports concerning opinion polls, surveys and election results – that remains in place.

“We, the undersigned civil society organisations, call upon the government to take specific steps to ensure a free and fair media in the run-up to the July 29 elections,” the statement said.

At this point, few are “under the illusion” that the election will be free and fair, president of Licadho Pung Chiv Kek said.

“But these attempts at directly censoring independent foreign media reports suggest that the government doesn’t even care about making it look fair and balanced,” she said.

With the ruling party controlling much of local Khmer media, local outlets are unable to report as freely as foreign-owned media, the statement said.

“The June 21 ban’s focus on foreign media indicated that its true purpose is to limit Cambodians access to independent [critical] media sources,” Pa Nguon Tean, head of the Cambodian Center for Independent Media, said.

Council of Ministers spokesman Phay Siphan said the five-day ban was simply designed to keep the election peaceful.

“I understand the media try to help the voiceless to be heard . . . But let the people decide, not the media,” he said.

MOST VIEWED

  • Angkor Wat named as the top landmark for the second year

    Travel website TripAdvisor has named Cambodia’s ancient wonder Angkor Wat as the top landmark in the world for the second year running in their Travelers’ Choice Award 2018, an achievement Cambodian tourism operators expect will attract more tourists to the Kingdom. The website uses traveller

  • New US bill ‘is a violation of Cambodian independence’

    After a US congressmen introduced bipartisan legislation that will enact sanctions on Cambodian officials responsible for “undermining democracy” in the Kingdom, government officials and the ruling Cambodian People’s Party on Sunday said they regarded the potential action as the “violation of independence and sovereignty

  • Hun Sen detractors ‘will die’

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Wednesday said those who curse or insult him would eventually die without a plot of land to bury their bodies after being killed by lightning, suffering the same fate as those who recently died in Thmar Baing district in Koh

  • Ministry’s plan for net sparks fears

    The government has ordered all domestic and international internet traffic in the Kingdom to pass through a Data Management Centre (DMC) that has been newly created by the state-owned Telecom Cambodia, in a move some have claimed is an attempt to censor government critics. Spokesman