Minister: Broadcasts of Assembly Inefficient

In accordance with the wishes of Prime Minister Hun Sen, Na­tion­al Assembly sessions will con­tin­ue to be televised in full, said In­form­ation Minister Khieu Kan­harith, who qualified his statement with continued assertions that the public would prefer edited versions.

In response to an inquiry from Un Ning, deputy chairman of the As­sembly’s Foreign Affairs and Co­operation, Propaganda and In­formation Commission, Khieu Kan­harith explained that he wanted to edit the broad­casts so that state-run TVK would look more professional.

“If you watch the [edited] program…you will see its efficiency and I will also receive admiration,” he wrote in a letter dated Wednesday.

When TVK resumes broadcasting the full parliamentary sessions, “audiences will be quick to turn off the television or change the channel,” the minister added.

He also denied accusations that the Ministry of Information had decided to edit the program in order to withhold information from the public.

“I would like to inform you that this decision [to offer edited broadcasts] does not mean [I am] politically biased or that I

fa­vor any person, but was only based on concerns of professionalism and efficiency,” he wrote.

The decision last week to offer condensed versions of Assembly sessions was quickly met with anger from Assembly President Prince Norodom Ranariddh and op­­position lawmakers, who de­clared that anything but full-length coverage was unconstitutional.

Hun Sen promptly reversed the decision and informed Khieu Kan­­harith to resume full broadcasts.

Reached for comment on Thurs­day, the information minister insisted that he was happy to comply with the prime minister’s order.

“I am not angry with Prince No­ro­dom Ranariddh,” he said.

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