State-owned television stations said Sunday that the reason they did not broadcast any news about opposition leader Sam Rainsy’s return to Cambodia on Friday was because it would have been in contravention of National Election Committee (NEC) regulations.
“According to the rules of the National Election Committee, we are banned from broadcasting for any political party that would serve their own advantage during the election campaign month,” said Kem Gunawadh, deputy director-general of state broadcaster TVK.
Yin Sovey, chief of information at TV3, said his director had banned the news. “Our broadcast is under the management of Prime Minister Hun Sen’s government and we don’t want to have problems,” Mr. Sovey said. “We cannot broadcast to highlight a single political party without the other parties because this is the law from the NEC, which requires transparent broadcasting,” he claimed.
While Bayon TV had sent reporters to cover the event, the segment was scratched as the traffic situation in the wake of Mr. Rainsy’s return was “anarchy,” said Huot Kheang Veng, chief of the channel’s news section, adding such a story would paint the police in a poor light.
“People will criticize the traffic police when they see that the road is blocked because of the return of Sam Rainsy,” he claimed.
Newspapers such as Rasmei Kampuchea, Kampuchea Thmey and Koh Southepheap also failed to print any coverage of Mr. Rainsy’s return, and the editors of all three publications on Sunday declined to comment on their editorial decision to suppress the news.
NEC secretary-general Tep Nytha said he had no opinion on the failure of stations to broadcast news of Mr. Rainsy’s return.
“I don’t know what to say about this because this is the right of the television companies,” he said.