League for Democracy Radio Show Banned by Gov’t

A political program on Radio FM 90 has been forced off the air by the Ministry of Information, a government official confirmed yesterday.

Thach Phen, secretary of state at the Information Ministry, said that the show, run by League for Democracy Party President Khem Veasna, had been banned by the government.

Mr Phen said he did not know the exact reasons behind the ban, which will prevent the show from being broadcast in eight provinces.

“The Information Ministry has ordered FM 90 to stop broadcasting the program,” Mr Phen said, adding that a letter sent to the radio station last Thursday did not make it clear as to why the show was being forced off the air.

Radio FM 90 Director Nhem Sophanna declined to comment about the case yesterday.

“I do not want to talk about this issue and it is not a big problem,” Mr Sophanna said.

Mr Veasna, the LDP president, said yesterday that it was the second time that the show had been pulled off the air. He said Radio FM 90 ordered the show-previously run by his own Training Development Organization-off the air late last year.

“I thought about contacting newspapers at the time, but decided to take the ‘softly, softly’ approach by changing the show to being an LDP program,” Mr Veasna said. “It is not a TDO program anymore, it is an LDP program.”

Mr Veasna said he believed Information Ministry had banned the show because of its political leanings.

“It is because we criticize the government,” he said. “We are an opposition party-of course we are going to criticize the government.”

Mr Veasna said that he would write to Prime Minister Hun Sen, asking the premier to explain why the government had banned his radio show.

Moeun Chhean Nariddh, director of the Cambodia Institute for Media Studies, said that the ban was unconstitutional.

“The ban of the broadcast on the radio by the Ministry of Information violates the Cambodian Constitution and it violates human rights,” Mr Chhean Nariddh said.

“According to constitutional law, everyone has the right to use the media systems. The Ministry of Information violates human rights when it stops the [LDP] from using the radio.”

 

 

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