SAM RAINSY has organized the reproduction and sale of tapes of his television address blacklisted by IBC-TV, according a distributor of them.
"Sam Rainsy is the owner of the production (of the tapes)," a staff member of the Voice of Khmer newspaper, which helped to distribute them, told the Post.
Requesting anonymity, he said the sacked finance minister offered the newspaper 10 per cent of the proceeds from the sale of more than 1000 tapes if it helped deliver them.
The Voice of Khmer Youth distributor said: "They [tapes] were sold very quickly. It was really amazing.
"Many people came to our office and asked (for) more tapes, because they want to know what Sam Rainsy said."
Rainsy, meanwhile, stopped short of confirming his involvement, other than to say he had received a copy of the original IBC-TV tape and made further copies for some of his friends.
But he had no objection to the tape being reproduced, he said, adding that he understood the number of copies had reached 3000.
"It's up the people to make whatever they wish out of it (the tape)," he said.
"IBC has no reason to want to reproduce the tape because they were the ones who refused to broadcast it," he added.
The tapes - on sale in Phnom Penh marketplaces for anything between 3000 and 6000 riels - feature a November 5 address on the economy Rainsy gave at a 'Public Opinion' forum sponsored by the Khmer Institute of Democracy (KID).
The speech was to have been screened by IBC on Nov11 but was not because of self-censorship. The Thai-owned company, which had been warned against criticizing the government, feared televising Rainsy's critical comments on some aspects of government policy and corruption might hurt its lucrative business.
Pi Thach, KID's deputy director, said he had no knowledge about the re-production of the program, but admitted that KID had asked IBC for the original tape after the firm said it would not televise it.
A copy of the tape had been given to Rainsy on his request.
"We don't know who is the owner of the production," said Thach.
Prum Kin, IBC's news editor, confirmed the original copy had been returned to KID after the institute issued a statement complaining about the broadcast ban.
He said he did not know about the reproduction of the program. But word of mouth about the tapes available at the market places had reached his company, which sent out a staff member to buy one for $2 on Nov 28.
The price had risen to 6000 riels by the time the Post bought one the next day.
A newsstand owner near Psar Thmey - who said she had been told to sell each one for only 3000 riels - said she quickly sold out 10 copies of the tape brought to her by a distributor of the Voice of Khmer Youth newspaper.
Prum Kin attributed his company's failure to air the program to the Information Ministry's several warnings not to screen critical comments on the government policy.
"That's why we did not broadcast the program. But, it is not my responsibility. It is the policy of the company to be entertainment-oriented rather than to broadcast heavy critical views," he said.
"Why was only Sam Rainsy invited, and not Var Huot and Kong Sam Ol, who were also removed [from ministerial position]?" he questioned in reference to KID's Nov 5 forum.
Kin believed Rainsy's action had "nothing to do with money"
"There may be other interests for him like drawing support from the masses, especially those who like him."