Sam Rainsy Party Files Complaint With NEC

The Sam Rainsy Party has lodged an official complaint with the nation’s top election body, charging that private and public sector media continue to favor the ruling CPP.

“The national and private stations based in Phnom Penh continue to select and broadcast material that consistently shows CPP officials and activities in a positive light,” the party said in a Monday statement. “Meanwhile there is a near blackout of other parties and of any events…that might show other parties in a positive light.”

The complaint to the National Election Committee comes two weeks after state-run media were ordered to drop their coverage of government affairs, and in the wake of NEC protests to a controversial Sam Rainsy Party television spot showing the deadly March 30, 1997, grenade attack.

NEC Information Officer Leng Sochea said Tuesday that state-run radio and television ended their broadcasts of government affairs July 3 on orders from Se­cond Prime Minister Hun Sen.

He disputed the Sam Rainsy Party’s claim, calling it a “wrong accusation.”

The NEC on Tuesday an­noun­ced preliminary results of its own media monitoring, which said that “the television and radio stations monitored by the NEC are generally complying with the media regulations.”

The privately owned Bayon and Apsara violated NEC regulations once by showing clips favorable to the CPP, the NEC said. Nei­ther have done it again.

But CPP Vice President Hun Sen and other party stalwarts, including Defense co-Minister Tea Banh and Cabinet co-Min­ister Sok An, figured prominently in news reports in July on four public and private television and radio stations. Opposition leaders and parties were largely ignored.

On Sunday, TV3 host Som Chhaya asked viewers to vote for the CPP during an entertainment program featuring children. “Your children need schools,” he told viewers. “Please vote for those who have built your children schools and roads.” TV3 is a joint public-private enterprise.

Meanwhile, fallout from the Sam Rainsy Party’s television spot was minimal. An NEC statement Tuesday said “no party has complained” about the broadcast of last year’s grenade attack, which killed at least 17 people in a Sam Rainsy-led protest.

Each of the 39 parties is al­lowed five minutes a day on state-run television and radio.

Koh Santepheap (Island of Peace) newspaper reported un­named NEC officials as saying Sam Rainsy secretly organized the attack on his own supporters.

The report echoed theories by some CPP members after the attack.


which often runs gruesome crime-scene footage on its front page


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