Media Agencies Warned About Gambling Ads

The Ministry of Information last week warned media organizations not to publish or broadcast advertisements from gambling outlets unless they have permission from the government to do so, according to a ministry notice obtained Tuesday.

“The ministry previously advised [media outlets] to stop all types of gambling ads in newspapers and on websites, but some newspapers and websites in the current days continue to run ads of all types of gambling, such as football betting, horse racing and online gambling, in order to lure Cambodians to play,” states the notice, dated August 1 and signed by Information Minister Khieu Kanharith.

“Once again, the Ministry of Information would like to remind all of you who are directors of television and radio stations as well as the publishers of magazines, newspapers and websites to immediately stop running gambling ads without the permission from the relevant authorities in order to maintain public order and social dignity,” it adds.

Under the 1996 Law of the Suppression of Gambling, gambling of any kind is prohibited unless specifically approved by the government.

Mr. Kanharith’s notice was issued in response to a request from the Ministry of Finance, said Buth Bovuth, director-general of the Ministry of Information’s information and broadcasting department.

Mr. Bovuth said the advertisements that have been published or broadcast are mostly from gambling outlets with illicit operations.

“The most important thing is that those gambling operators are not legally permitted by the Ministry of Finance,” he said.

Ros Phearun, spokesman for the Ministry of Finance, confirmed the ministry had asked the Ministry of Information to stop the gambling advertisements.

“Any gambling ads that try to lure Khmer people absolutely will not be allowed. We will shut down their operation,” he said.

News outlets must now contact the Finance Ministry before running gambling ads to have them vetted by officials there.

The notice does not say how media agencies would be punished if they publish or broadcast gambling advertisements without permission, and Mr. Bovuth and Mr. Phearun declined to say what penalties offenders might face.

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