Longtime Opposition Financier Picked to Chair New CNRP TV

The CNRP has selected longtime opposition financier Kun Lom Ang as chairwoman of the private company established in October to operate its new television station, party spokesman Yim Sovann said Tuesday.

The Ministry of Information late last month granted Cambodian Independent Media, which was registered by the CNRP in late October, the requisite license to operate the country’s first opposition-aligned television station.

Mr. Sovann said Tuesday that the CNRP is now in preparations to begin operating and that Ms. Lom Ang, who made an unsuccessful run as a candidate for parliament in Takeo province at last year’s election, will be chair of its board of directors.

Ms. Lom Ang, who is also the wife of senior Sam Rainsy Party (SRP) Senator Hong Sok Hour, said Cambodian Independent Media is only in the early stages of preparing the station and is now occupied with sorting out finances.

“The scale of the spending is too large as the CNRP is a political party that has just enough resources for political work, and cannot afford the $10 to $20 million needed to create a television station,” Ms. Lom Ang said.

“We are in the process of talking to the political party over the matter of the budget,” she said.

Ms. Lom Ang added that the CNRP’s television station would run on a regular free-to-air advertisement model.

“Regarding the matter of advertisements, we will welcome all type of advertisements except for cigarettes and alcoholic drinks,” she said.

According to a biography compiled by the Cambodian Center for Human Rights last year, Ms. Lom Ang fled the Khmer Rouge in 1978 to a refugee camp on the Thai border before marrying Mr. Sok Hour and moving to France.

“Whilst living in France, Lom Ang would check the news about Cambodia on a daily basis,” the biography reads. “By listening to the news every day she became interested in undertaking a political career in Cambodia.”

From France, Ms. Lom Ang was initially a Funcinpec member, it says, but soon after returning to Cambodia in 2006 became an SRP financier.

Mr. Sok Hour, who was treasurer of the SRP before the creation of the CNRP, and is now in charge of technical work at Cambodian Independent Media, said a meeting Wednesday would further discuss the station’s finances.

“It is pretty certain that the television operation will begin broadcasting from Phnom Penh first,” he said.

“The other issue about the television operations and capital investment will be on the table for discussion [Wednesday].”

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