Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - More stations told to stop VOA, RFA shows



More stations told to stop VOA, RFA shows

More stations told to stop VOA, RFA shows

Two local radio stations were yesterday ordered to stop their broadcasts of independent news outlets Radio Free Asia and Voice of America, with an Information Ministry official saying the two were operating illegally in the country and should not be allowed to broadcast their shows.

The latest development comes as more than 15 radio stations were shuttered two weeks ago, allegedly for not informing the Information Ministry who they were selling airtime to, in violation of their contracts. The closures disproportionately affected RFA and VOA, with fellow independent outlet Voice of Democracy facing a similar situation when its shows were taken off the air. With the order to the latest two stations, RFA and VOA are virtually silenced amid what many have labelled a crackdown on the free press ahead of crucial elections last year.

A letter signed by Information Minister Khieu Kanharith to the Mam Sonando-owned Beehive Radio yesterday said each outlet had not officially “registered its representative office” with the Information Ministry, and that if the station continued to air those shows it would lose its licence.

A similar directive was sent to a radio station run by the Women’s Media Center (WMC), which two weeks ago was facing similar accusations as the 15 shuttered radio stations but was not closed down due to its social contributions to reporting on women’s issues.

Ministry spokesman Ouk Kimseng further clarified that RFA and VOA had “an attitude to violate the law”, adding that the former had failed to inform the ministry about a change of management.

“For example, RFA appointed a bureau chief in Phnom Penh,” he said referring to RFA staffer Chi Vita. “But they did not come to inform us that he was appointed to be the chief.”

Kimseng called both publications “insolent”, and maintained actions taken against them were warranted in light of them not respecting the law.

Both Beehive and Women’s Radio FM 102 only rebroadcast the two outlets’ shows, with WMC’s Executive Director Chea Sundaneth saying they had “no option” but to stop, starting today.

“Yes, we have received the letter. We have to follow it, or what can we do? If we don’t stop, we have to be shut down,” she said.

Mam Sonando, who recently stepped down as president of the Beehive Social Democratic Party, echoed her concerns.

“They warned me if I am strong-headed, they will revoke my licence. If I am strong-headed, I will be hammered,” he said.

MOST VIEWED

  • Phnom Penh placed in two-week lockdown

    The government has decided to place Phnom Penh in lockdown for two weeks, effective April 14 midnight through April 28, as Cambodia continues to grapple with the ongoing community outbreak of Covid-19, which has seen no sign of subsiding. According to a directive signed by Prime Minister

  • Cambodia on the verge of national tragedy, WHO warns

    The World Health Organisation (WHO) in Cambodia warned that the country had reached another critical point amid a sudden, huge surge in community transmission cases and deaths. “We stand on the brink of a national tragedy because of Covid-19. Despite our best efforts, we are

  • Hun Sen: Stay where you are, or else

    Prime Minister Hun Sen warned that the two-week lockdown of Phnom Penh and adjacent Kandal provincial town Takmao could be extended if people are not cooperative by staying home. “Now let me make this clear: stay in your home, village, and district and remain where

  • Businesses in capital told to get travel permit amid lockdown through One Window Service

    The Phnom Penh Municipal Administration has issued guidelines on how to get travel permission for priority groups during the lockdown of Phnom Penh, directing private institutions to apply through the municipality's One Window Service and limit their staff to a mere two per cent. In

  • Vaccination open to foreigners in Cambodia

    The Ministry of Health on April 8 issued an announcement on Covid-19 vaccination for foreigners residing and working in Cambodia, directing the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training and local authorities to register them. Health minister Mam Bun Heng, who is also head of the inter-ministerial

  • Ministry names types of business permitted amid lockdown

    The Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training singled out 11 types of business that are permitted to operate during the lockdown of Phnom Penh and Takmao town, which run through April 28. Those include (1) food-processing enterprises and slaughterhouses; (2) providers of public services such as firefighting, utility and