NEC Shortens Two Opposition TV Election Ads

An opposition lawmaker on Thursday condemned the move to cut two thirds out of two of the party’s television spots for the Senate election this week.

The National Election Commit­tee reduced two 15-minute spots broad­cast on TVK on Tuesday to five minutes each without the opposition party’s prior knowledge, officials said.

“It could be a trick and it is bias. The decision could have been made by someone with influence,” said opposition lawmaker Ho Vann, adding that the spots did not violate NEC regulations.

Officials from the NEC and the Sam Rainsy Party had reviewed the spots once before the airing, Ho Vann said, adding that he had agreed with the committee’s decision to remove references to the mo­n­archy, which is supposed to be independent of all the political par­­ties. But other changes were made without party consent, he said.

The NEC sent a letter to the par­ty on Wednesday explaining that references to “chaos in society” and foot­age of opposition officials working at the Cambodia-Vietnam border in 2000 and 2001 had been removed.

Sokolac Tipor, chief of the NEC’s Equality Program, whose pur­­pose is to ensure that all four par­ties participating in the election get equal coverage in the state media, said the border foot­age was cut because the committee felt it was unnecessary.

“The supplementary treaty [with Vietnam] was ratified by the [National] Assembly and the King, and it could have an impact on the treaty,” he said of the foot­age.

It would not have been cut if it had been filmed after the ratification of the treaty rather than before, he added.

The committee was not pressured to cut the spots, Sokolac Ti­por said.

“We did not check it thoroughly the first time because we were too busy,” he said. “When we checked the second time, we invited [opposition] officials for a discussion again. But it was a little bit too late.”

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