Suspension of NRP Show Bad for Cambodia
October 16, 2007, 10:16 am
Filed under: Freedom of Expression

Opinion

 

 Suspension of NRP Show Bad for Cambodia

by Moeun Chhean Nariddh

 

I very much regret that the Beehive Radio station briefly halted a political party radio program deemed critical of Prime Minister Hun Sen (“Radio Station Suspends NRP Show for Criticizing PM,” Monday, page 16).

 I feel that this suspension of the Norodom Ranariddh Party’s program and the prior screening of its show are just a sign of self-censorship that is still disturbing press freedom in Cambodia.

 The press and the public have legitimate freedom to express their opinions even if they are critical of the government and its leaders. As a new democratic country, Cambodia and its media need to encourage a free flow of all kinds of opinions and debates in order for our democracy to flourish.

 For its part, the Beehive Radio Station, like all other media, should not be intimidated by the content and comments in any radio programs that buy its airtime.

 Once the airtime is bought, the programs produced by political parties or NGOs should also be considered commercial advertisements.

 According to article 16 of the Cambodian Press Law, though false advertisements should be prohibited, “the press organ which published [or broadcast] such advertisement[s] is not the one to be responsible before the law.” This article adds that: “in the contrary, the advertiser shall be the person to be responsible in front of the law and court.”

Therefore, all radio stations should not worry about the programs aired during the hours bought by others.

In the meantime, I also hope that all media organizations can provide all political parties and NGOs with a low-cost venue to broadcast programs or publish materials that promote free speech, human rights and democracy during the period leading to the 2008 elections.

 

The Cambodia Daily

16 October 2007

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sad….

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