Banned Radio Show Rejects Censorship

Funcinpec will allow the Cambodian Center for Human Rights to resume airing its suspended “Voice of Democracy” radio program on FM 90, royalist party officials said Monday, as long as the center agrees to re­frain from what they called “exaggerated information” critical of party leaders.

A meeting between representatives of pro-Funcinpec FM 90 representatives and CCHR Director Kem Sokha is scheduled for this week, Minister of Information Lu Laysreng said.

“I hope that we can solve the problem,” Lu Laysreng said Mon­day.

“We rent the station [to CCHR] for the program to disseminate the democratic process, not to use our station to criticize the party leaders.”

CCHR officials said they won’t comply with the request to cease critical reports and acc­used the party of inhibiting free speech.

“We cannot define criticism. When we report on good things, they are happy; when we report on bad things, they say [it is] criticism,” said Pang Uon Teang, “Vo­i­ce of Democracy” acting director.

Funcinpec does not care whether CCHR criticizes the par­ty, Lu Laysreng said—as long as they do it on another radio station.

FM 90 yanked the program last week after it broadcast interviews with citizens criticizing Funcinpec Presi­dent Prince Norodom Ran­ar­iddh. The station will resume the program if CCHR pledges to stop airing reports critical of individuals without evidence, station Director Nhem Sophanna said.

Calling CCHR’s reporting “contrary to the truth,” the statement said the party ordered a temporary suspension until the two sides resolved their differences.

CCHR responded with a statement defending the veracity of its reporting and called Funcinpec’s move a “show of weakness.”

The US Embassy also expres­sed concern over the suspension in a statement Monday.

“This action may result in the loss of a vital source of news and information for the Cambodian people,” the statement said.


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