T he government says it will begin a new FM radio station in Battambang with
broadcasting scheduled to start in early 1996.
Supported by a US$30,000
grant from UNESCO, "Radio Battambang" is to be set up at Chamkar Chek (Banana
Plantation) three kms outside of the provincial capital.
The site, a
former radio station built with USAID funding in the l970s, has two 108-meter
transmission towers which will be re-furbished, according to Ministry of
Information spokesman Leng Sochea.
Sochea said that the new station will
enable an additional three million people living in five northwestern provinces
to receive government broadcasts. At present, most people in Battambang, Siem
Reap, Banteay Meanchey, Preah Vihear and Pursat provinces are out of reach of
the existing govenment-run radio broadcasts.
"We plan to promote
education, health care services and rural development," Sochea told the Post.
The overall budget for the project, which includes equipment, staff
training, the construction of a new studio is estimated at around $72,000.
Sochea said that requests for the additional funds required had been made to
corporations, agencies and some embassies but that the ministry had "no relpies
In a related development, Sochea said that the Japanese government
has pledged US$18 million for the construction of a new TV station in Battambang
and that broadcasting should begin "early next year."
"Battambang is a
very strategic area," Sochea said. "We want to let the people know our plans and
to let them know what's going on politically and economically."
added that both the radio and TV broadcasts would be used to reach people living
under control of the Khmer Rouge and to try and encourage defectors.