Information Minister Khieu Kanharith yesterday reiterated that it was near impossible for Beehive Radio director Mam Sonando to expand his station’s reach and obtain a TV licence because he owes “millions of riel” in supposed broadcasting tax.
The comments – similar to those Kanharith made over the weekend – came as the prominent radio director submitted a letter to City Hall yesterday outlining plans for daily protests outside the ministry.
“His strategy is to borrow more money.… His radio [operation] owes the ministry hundreds of millions of riel,” Kanarith said, adding that the money supposedly owed was tax for broadcasting.
Sonando, however, said no such law exists.
“How can I pay a broadcasting tax of 3 million riel per month if there is no law? I absolutely won’t,” he said. “[Kanharith] says I owe hundreds of millions of riel. If so, why does he not file a legal complaint?”
Over the weekend, Kanharith described Sonando’s efforts to move into TV and expand his radio station’s coverage as a ploy to “borrow more money” from the government, according to a Sunday post on the website of state-run news agency Agence Kampuchea Presse (AKP).
The same day, Sonando said he had been forced to postpone a demonstration because the authorities had said his request to rally had been “unlawful”.
City Hall has not yet responded to a subsequent request from Sonando to hold week-day rallies in his bid to grow his media company.
City Hall spokesman Long Dimanche said officials planned to invite Sonando to talk about his demonstration plans.