Popular singer Chea Sovanna, who was banned from television following a Dec 25 performance in which her dancing and open-back top were deemed too racy for Cambodian audiences, made a televised apology on CTN network on Wednesday.
She said that criticism coming from Prime Minister Hun Sen had shown her the error of her ways, and specifically apologized to him and his wife Bun Rany for her behavior.
“First of all, I would like to pay respect to all audience members and other Cambodian people,” she said. “On Dec 25, I performed in a concert running on CTN’s ‘Modern Concert’ in which I wore improper clothes. But that day was Christmas, so I thought that as a performer, actress and singer, I just wanted to do bizarre things to get the audience excited.”
Government spokesman Khieu Kanharith said that Hun Sen has accepted her apology, and supported her return to broadcast performances.
“I think everybody is happy,” Khieu Kanharith said.
Chum Kosal, CTN news producer and adviser to Hun Sen, said he had arranged for the televised apology, and added that Chea Sovanna would be allowed to return to television on the condition that she wears proper, traditional clothes.
Journalism trainer Moeun Chean Nariddh said that although skimpy clothes go against Cambodian tradition, the apologies seemed excessive, and Chea Sovanna should not be the only one to bear the blame.
“I was pretty disappointed to hear that she had been appearing so sexy on TV,” he said. “But then I think it is sad because…she has made too strong an apology for not so serious a crime.”
Opposition member and former minister of women’s affairs Mu Sochua said CTN should shoulder more responsibility.
“She makes her living from the show, and who profits from the show?” Mu Sochua asked. “At the end of the day, it should be CTN to say ‘we will not show it any more, we apologize.’”
She added that it is intimidating and humiliating to make a woman apologize to the nation via the media.
“To make a woman go down on her knees, I think it is very unfortunate and it should not be allowed,” Mu Sochua said.