Funcinpec radio station Ta Prohm went silent Thursday after Electricite du Cambodge cut off its power when the station failed to come up with enough cash to pay its electricity bill, radio station director Noranarith Anandayath said Sunday.
The director said the station owes the power company $5,000.
“We do not have money to pay the electricity bill,” he said. “We will continue to run the station whenever the electricity comes back.”
He said Funcinpec’s accountant, Ministry of Finance Secretary of State Kong Vibol, failed to offer money to cover Ta Prohm’s electricity. He said the station’s budget is $3,000 per month with $1,500 going toward electricity.
Kong Vibol, currently in Hong Kong, said by phone Sunday “there is no problem” with the station and declined further comment. Funcinpec spokesman Tuot Lux also declined to comment.
Noranarith Anandayath said Funcinpec President Prince Norodom Ranariddh and Secretary-General Prince Norodom Sirivudh have intervened in the case, but he does not know when the station will resume broadcasting. He said the two men have in the past personally funded the station but added that the entire party should be financially responsible for it.
“Without the station, we cannot explain to the people about the party,” he said.
Senior Funcinpec official Serey Kosal, the party’s former deputy secretary-general, said Sunday he was not aware of conflict within the party over Ta Prohm. But he said he has been dissatisfied with the station since it criticized him after Funcinpec joined the CPP in a coalition government.
“If the station belongs to the party, why did the station criticize me?” he said.
On Oct 18, 2003, during the post-election political deadlock, Ta Prohm journalist Chuor Chetharith was killed by an unknown gunman. Funcinpec officials at the time decried his killing as a politically motivated attack.