Officials and Phnom Penh Royal University professors expressed concern Wednesday about the negative social impact of obscene and violent content in Cambodian comedy shows.
Comedians often use abusive language and hit each other on the head with empty plastic bottles to get laughs, which are “acts of human abuse toward men and women,” Sok Chan Chhor Vy, deputy director general of the Women’s Affairs Ministry, said Wednesday at a meeting on gender equality attended by journalists and actors.
“Comedians should have morality and virtue in their performances,” said Royal University of Fine Arts Professor Kauv Sotheary.
“They have used abusive words in their performances and women often suffer,” she said.
“Youths are very comfortable copying it,” she added. “Previously, Cambodian comedians have made audiences laugh without using abusive words or violent performances.”
Women’s Affairs Ministry Director General Keth Sam Ath said her ministry will work with the ministries of information and culture to eliminate all forms of TV violence.
“Other countries are very careful with art, because it strongly influences people,” she said. “We need to change the attitudes of people in society to [cease] using abusive words for communication and performance.
“Comedians should not think of only money,” she added. “Audiences that like such performances do not understand much of Khmer morality.”
Comedian Ou Bunarath declined to comment but said he suggested the ministries start the campaign by checking Phnom Penh’s many theaters showing pornographic and violent movies.
Minister of Information Khieu Kanharith could not be reached for comment Wednesday.