Funcinpec Radio Silenced by Electricity Bill

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.

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