Despite being short more than $2 million in necessary funds, the opposition CNRP is still optimistic that its new television station will be able to start broadcasting sometime in the first half of 2016, a party official said Friday.
The CNRP was granted permission to launch the country’s first-ever opposition-aligned TV station last year as part of an agreement with the CPP for the opposition to end its yearlong boycott of parliament.
Its initial goal was to start broadcasting by the end of this year, but “Sun TV” has met with several setbacks, including the arrest and imprisonment in August of Senator Hong Sok Hour, who had been spearheading the effort to set up the station.
The party has thus far raised about $800,000 of the $3 million it projects will be required for the station’s launch, according to CNRP spokesman Yem Ponhearith. He said the money in hand was enough for the purchase of a plot of land in Kandal province’s Takhmao district and the installation of a broadcast tower and other equipment there.
However, the station still must obtain several additional government approvals before it can move forward, and the party must raise at least another $2.2 million.
“Presently, we have three issues to settle for CNRP television,” Mr. Ponhearith said.
“First, we have just submitted a letter for an extension of our broadcast license, but we haven’t heard from the Ministry of Information yet. The second issue is the matter that the CNRP is preparing documents to lodge with the Ministry of Land Management to seek authorization to install the television tower, and lastly, the process of filing paperwork with the Ministry of Posts and Telecoms about our television frequency.”
Mr. Ponhearith estimated that necessary expenditures to set up the station stood at $1.5 million, and the operation would need another $1.5 million to pay for the initial broadcasts. He said the party had stopped fundraising after the arrest of Senator Sok Hour and subsequent political events—including the issuance of an arrest warrant for opposition leader Sam Rainsy and the ousting of Mr. Rainsy and his deputy Kem Sokha from their positions in parliament—but would resume soon.
“[Senator Sok Hour’s] arrest… cannot stop us from running CNRP TV, because we still have other experts processing the work,” he said.