CPP officials still dominate the news on private airwaves, outnumbering other parties nearly 18 to 1 on news coverage, according to new UN report.
The report, released Thursday by the office of Thomas Hammarberg, the UN secretary-general’s special representative for human rights in Cambodia, appeared to contradict a positive report this week from the National Election Committee’s media monitoring program.
The UN report noted that state-run TVK and National Radio have cut news coverage and provided relatively balanced coverage since the start of the official political campaign June 25.
But the news programs of such private stations as Apsara TV and radio, which are a joint venture between a private company and the CPP, have continued to give extensive coverage of the de facto ruling party’s officials, while almost ignoring officials from other parties.
Apsara TV and radio, combined with Bayon TV and radio, featured CPP figures a total of 446 times in the first two weeks of July, while mentioning other parties only 25 times, according to the UN report.
Second Prime Minister Hun Sen got the most coverage, appearing 107 times on news broadcasts. The second premier’s wife, Bun Rany, was second with 71 appearances, the report said.
By contrast, deposed first prime minister Prince Norodom Ranariddh appeared a total of six times, all on Apsara radio. Opposition figure Sam Rainsy was featured nine times, also on Apsara radio.
The NEC released a statement Wednesday saying it appeared that, with one or two exceptions, private radios were complying with regulations that ban political “propaganda” on any station except for the official NEC equal-time broadcasts.
Asked last week if extensive coverage of Hun Sen rice donation ceremonies counted as propaganda, NEC official Samraing Kamsan responded that government activities do not count as political.
“Every action of the royal government we need to broadcast, but if it is the action belonging to the political party, we have to prohibit it,” said Samraing Kamsan, who heads the NEC media monitoring program.
According to the UN report, First Prime Minister Ung Huot, formerly of Funcinpec and now head of his own party, Reastr Niyum, was mentioned only four times on the four private news broadcasts.
Reached Thursday afternoon, Samraing Kamsan said he could not comment. “I have not seen this report yet.”