NGOs wanting to air voter education segments before July’s general elections should submit their video or audio tapes to the NEC for review, NEC spokesman Leng Sochea said Tuesday.
“If NGOs want us to examine the spots, they can send them to the NEC. We just want to check [legal] technicalities, then we will issue permission,” he said.
Leng Sochea said it is not necessary for NGOs to seek NEC approval for their segments, but if false information is aired, the NGOs will be held responsible.
“We have to respect each other. NGOs don’t make the law. They don’t know the law 100 percent,” he said.
Committee for Free and Fair Elections Director Koul Panha said Tuesday he is worried that NGOs that do not submit their segments to the NEC will have difficulty broadcasting them. He said his organization has enough knowledge and experience to edit its own scripts and should not be subjected to the influence of a government-appointed body.
“Please [all television and radio stations] broadcast the educational spots. NGOs don’t need permission from the NEC,” he said.
Tive Sarayeth, co-director of the Women’s Media Center of Cambodia, said her organization will be airing three television spots during voter registration but will seek broadcast permission from the NEC.
“We learned from the commune elections it is easier to broadcast with the approval of the NEC,” she said.
Tive Sarayeth also said she was not worried about the NEC editing the WMC’s spots.
Mam Sanando, the owner of Beehive radio, said experience has taught him not to air voter education spots without NEC approval.
“In 2002 during the commune elections, Sam Rainsy gave me a tape to broadcast and the next day I asked the NEC for permission to play it and they said, ‘Yes, but if there is any problem with the tape, we will shut down your station,’” he said.
Fay Sam Ang, the program director of TV3, also said he is afraid that broadcasting a spot not sanctioned by the NEC could lead to closure of his station.