Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - No relaunch for shuttered radio stations



No relaunch for shuttered radio stations

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Members of the press attend a Ministry of Information workshop on Friday where an official said the numerous independent broadcasters shuttered in recent months would not be allowed to reopen. Photo supplied

No relaunch for shuttered radio stations

The Ministry of Information on Friday said more than 15 radio stations shut down in August will not be allowed to restart operations, with the ministry also saying it will purge its registry of 275 “inactive” publications.

The closures, which predominantly affected critical media voices, came just as the government was ramping up its crackdown on the country’s main opposition party. The radio stations, which broadcast on more than 30 frequencies across the country, had sold airtime to broadcasters Radio Free Asia, Voice of America and, in some cases, to the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party itself.

They were shut down for allegedly not reporting these sales, as per the terms of their contracts with the ministry.

At a media workshop on Friday, Phos Sovann, director general of the Information and Broadcasting Department, said allowing the radio stations to broadcast again would be a disservice to other registered broadcasters that were following the ministry’s rules.

“For the more than 10 radio stations – do not hope to continue again. They will not be allowed,” Sovann said. “If we permit that, the 200 registered stations will trouble the ministry.

In order to illustrate the need for reporting airtime sales, Sovann said extremist groups like Islamic State could buy airtime and broadcast their propaganda across the country were the ministry not kept informed.

“What if they come from Arab [nations] and buy [hours] and then make an attack? ISIS can come and buy the hours. ISIS has a lot of money,” he said.

Sovann also said Minister Khieu Kanharith was currently reviewing a list of 275 print publications that he said are largely inactive or had misused their licences, but declined to divulge more details.

Yem Yoeun, owner of one of the closed radio stations, Klang Moeung, expressed disappointment with the ministry’s decision and said he will speak with other owners of shuttered stations to find a potential solution.

“I have filed requests twice to reopen my radio station, but they went unanswered. It is a bit serious and it is [projected] like we have seriously violated the law,” he said.

He also observed that the stations targeted by the ministry were those selling airtime to international radio broadcasters, such as VOA and RFA, which are often critical of the government.

Meanwhile, the government of the Philippines issued a statement on Friday announcing a memorandum of understanding with the Information Ministry to increase personnel training, communications programs and to fight “fake news” in both countries.

“The proliferation of fake news is a common problem nowadays by most countries in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). It is Cambodia’s number one challenge too,” read a statement from the Philippines’ Presidential Communications Operations Office, adding that it would share information and best practices on how to fight false information.

Ministry of Information spokesman Ouk Kimseng could not be reached for comment yesterday.

MOST VIEWED

  • Ministry mulls ASEAN+3 travel bubble

    The Ministry of Tourism plans to launch a travel bubble allowing transit between Cambodia and 12 other regional countries in a bid to resuscitate the tourism sector amid crushing impact of the ongoing spread of Covid-19, Ministry of Tourism spokesman Top Sopheak told The Post on

  • Courts’ decisions now published as reference source

    The Ministry of Justice has published 44 verdicts from civil litigation cases which can be used as models for court precedents and for study by the public and those who work in pertinent fields. Publication of the verdicts on December 31 came as the result of joint

  • ‘Kingdom one of safest to visit in Covid-19 era’

    The Ministry of Tourism on January 12 proclaimed Cambodia as one of the safest countries to visit in light of the Kingdom having been ranked number one in the world by the Senegalese Economic Prospective Bureau for its success in handling the Covid-19 pandemic. In rankings

  • Quarantine site in north Phnom Penh inaugurated

    A four-building quarantine centre in Phnom Penh’s Prek Pnov district was formally inaugurated on January 6. The centre can house up to 500 people, according to Phnom Penh municipal governor Khuong Sreng. At the inauguration ceremony, Sreng said the municipal hall had cooperated with the Ministry

  • China firm to develop Mondulkiri airport

    Tourism to the Kingdom’s northeast corridor could experience a remarkable metamorphosis after the government decided in principle of a Chinese company to study and develop a proposal to build a regional-level airport in Mondulkiri province, according to industry insiders. The Council of Ministers said

  • More than 5K workers rush from Thailand amid outbreak

    Following the recent outbreak of Covid-19 in Thailand’s Samut Sakhon province, Cambodian migrants working in Thailand were gripped by worry over the situation and many rushed to return to their homeland. Over the past 10 days, more than 5,000 migrant workers have returned from Thailand through