PM Vetoes Plan to Cut Telecast of Parliament

Prime Minister Hun Sen has re­versed a Ministry of In­for­ma­tion decision to stop full-length tele­vised broadcasts of National As­sembly sessions, Assembly Presi­dent Prince Norodom Rana­riddh said Thursday.

“Samdech Hun Sen wrote a letter and read it out for me that he or­dered the continuation of [As­sembly] broadcasts on TVK and ra­dio as before,” Prince Ra­na­riddh told reporters.

On Wednesday, Information Minister Khieu Kanharith said he had decided to stop broadcasting As­sembly sessions on TVK, starting Monday, because audiences were not interested.

Instead, the station would broad­cast an edited 15-minute segment from each session, he said. Khieu Kanharith added that the shortened version would save money. He did not say how much would be saved.

Khieu Kanharith did not answer repeated phone calls for comment Thursday.

The decision prompted an ang­ry response from Prince Ra­na­riddh and opposition lawmakers.

Opposition parliamentarian Son Chhay said he was worried that the plan would limit the opposition’s exposure to the public.

Over the week, “some of my party members said what they ex­pressed in parliament had been de­leted,” he said Thursday.

“The limiting of free debate means the return to an authoritarian style of rule,” he said.

Under Article 88 of the Con­sti­tution, Assembly sessions must be held in public.

Son Chhay cited the government’s crackdown on peaceful de­monstrations over the past year as another violation of constitutional rights.

He also noted that the meetings of the Council of Ministers’ and Phnom Penh Municipality are closed to the public.

Opposition lawmaker Yim Sovann said the Information Min­is­try’s move would have “violated the rights of members of parliament to do their duty.”

ga casino and did not know the bottles contained drugs. Also Thursday, Judge Ya Sakhon dropped charges against Wu Hung Te, saying there was no evidence that he was involved in drug trafficking.


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