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

  • Kingdom accepts Chinese vaccine, PM first to get jab

    Prime Minister Hun Sen said China would offer Cambodia an immediate donation of one million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine produced by the Sinopharm company. In an audio message addressing the public on the night of January 15, he said Cambodia has accepted the offer and

  • Reeling in Cambodia’s real estate sector

    A new norm sets the scene but risks continue to play out in the background A cold wind sweeps through the streets of Boeung Trabek on an early January morning as buyers and traders engage in commerce under bright blue skies. From a distance, the

  • Hun Sen: Lakes filled in for national developments

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has announced continued operations to fill some lakes in Phnom Penh to create land for developments, though he is against the unrelated practice of damming rivers or blocking waterways. Speaking at the inauguration of the Ministry of Public Works and Transport

  • Koh Preus upgrades 70% complete

    Initial construction of a nearly $30 million tourism infrastructure project on Preah Sihanouk province’s Koh Preus Island is “about 70 per cent complete”, according to an official with the developer. Heng Thou, construction site manager of Angela Real Estate Co Ltd (ARE), told The Post that

  • Local media loses a giant, and The Post a great friend

    Cheang Sokha, a gifted and streetwise reporter who rose to the highest ranks of Cambodian media and was beloved for his sharp intelligence, world-class humour and endless generosity, died on Friday in his hometown of Phnom Penh. He was 42. His wife, Sok Sophorn, said he

  • Cambodia, India agree to start direct flights, tourism exchanges

    Cambodia and India have agreed to start direct flight connections and promote closer tourism exchanges and cooperation in all areas after the Covid-19 saga comes to a close. The agreement was reached during a meeting between Cambodian Minister of Tourism Thong Khon and newly-minted Indian