Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Put Thai shows back on TV, diplomat urges

Put Thai shows back on TV, diplomat urges

Put Thai shows back on TV, diplomat urges

Twenty months after Thai films were pulled from Cambodian television channels following

the anti-Thai riots, Thailand's Ambassador Piyawat Niyomrerks says they should return

as fair competition in line with the spirit of World Trade Organization (WTO) agreement.

"I think the Thai screen drama should be given a chance to compete in this Cambodian

market. This is fair competition under the WTO principles," Piyawat told the

Post on September 29, after discussions with Deputy PM Sok An and Khieu Kanharith,

Minister of Information.

Piyawat said the Thailand-Cambodian Commission on Promotion of Cultural Cooperation

had been actively working for better understanding, and sharing of knowledge and

experience in cultural heritage and conservation.

He said the relationship between Thailand and Cambodia had been strengthened in many

aspects and the political relationship was stronger

"It would send a clear message to the world that Cambodia and Thailand have

normalized their relationship if we could see more Thai films and Thai drama in Cambodia,"

said Piyawat.

However, Sok An said after the meeting Piyawat that the two countries need more time

to exchange views on cultural cooperation.

Mon Samith, a student at the Faculty of Business and Economic at Pannasastra University

of Cambodia (PUC) said that even though Cambodia had to abide by the WTO agreement,

as a least developed country it had the right to subsidize its local industries.

"Thai films should not be allowed on local television stations because it could

kill our fragile film industry," said Mon, who said he spoke for other students

also.

"We are concerned that riots against Thai businesses might occur again if movies

about the ancient times return to television," said Mon.

He said many television stations in Phnom Penh have Cambodian and Thai shareholders.

Khieu Kanharith, Minister of Information, said the government had never ordered that

Thai films be banned from local television. Thai films were voluntarily removed by

station directors following the riots on January 29, 2003. Thai films had proved

even more popular than films from China and Hollywood, he said.

Mon claimed that some television stations had begun showing Thai films or Thai drama.

But the Post has monitored all seven local channels since September 21; there were

no Thai films shown, only Thai business advertising.

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