Koh Santepheap Daily newspaper is planning to launch a radio station in Phnom Penh, Battambang and Preah Sihanouk province, at the end of this year, the newspaper’s publisher said Friday, though he later backtracked on those comments after Ministry of Information officials said he had permission to broadcast only in the countryside.
Thong Uy Pang, publisher of Koh Santepheap, the country’s most-popular Khmer-language newspaper which features mostly favorable coverage of the government, had said early Friday that in July and August he will break ground on station offices in three places and will launch Koh Santepheap radio before 2011.
“I accepted the license for the radio from the Ministry of Information,” said Mr Uy Pang by telephone, noting that he was given permission for the station at the beginning of this year. He added that after the radio station is launched, he hopes to create a TV station as well. With the radio station, he said, he can better disseminate news in the countryside and city.
Khieu Kanharith, minister of information, said the license had been given, but denied that Mr Uy Pang had permission to open a station in Phnom Penh–where the proliferation of stations is high and frequency is scarce.
“I heard he wanted to build radio stations in the provinces because in Phnom Penh frequency is narrow,” Mr Kanharith said.
Buth Bovuth, director of the ministry’s Audio Department, echoed Mr Kanharith’s comments, saying Mr Uy Pang must have been confused concerning permission in Phnom Penh.
“Frequency in Phnom Penh is narrow, I can’t give him space here” until 2015 said Mr Bovuth. According to Mr Bovuth, permission was awarded for the provinces, not the municipality.
Contacted later on Friday, Mr Uy Pang back-tracked on his earlier comments saying that he hoped to broadcast in Phnom Penh in the future, but for now would focus on Battambang and Preah Sihanouk provinces.