TV3 Debuts Debate Series With Local Focus Debuts

A new debate program that brings together experts and officials to discuss current affairs aired on TV3 Sunday evening.

The show, called “Cambodian Voices,” marks a new departure for Cambodian programming, and aims to provide a forum for in­dividual viewpoints, government policy and public opinion.

The first program focused on election registration—the shortfalls and successes of the process, and, in particular, how the pro­cess has worked for young people.

This week’s guests were Na­tion­al Election Committee Secre­tary-General Tep Nitha; Ny Chak­rya, chief of investigation at Adhoc; Mao Mun Yath, president of the National Front for Democ­racy and Intellectuals; and Koul Panha, executive director for the Commit­tee for Free and Fair Elections.

“I am happy to see a discussion forum on television, as I think it will help citizens to better understand and participate in Cambodi­an society,” Koul Panha said.

Ny Chakrya also praised the program’s concept, but offered suggestions for improving the format. “I would prefer to have a live discussion program with call-ins, in order to show public opinion.”

The program’s editor, Daniel Littlewood of FIT Media, said he would also like to have the voices of ordinary people represented on the show: “A studio audience would be great, but at this stage, it’s enough work to get the guests in,” he said.

“Cambodian Voices” is aired on Sundays from 9:30 pm to 10:30 pm. The next edition will focus on weapons reduction, and the show after that will be about religion.

Discussing potentially controversial issues on national television has not been without complications, Littlewood said. The over­all concept for the series re­quired approval from the Minis­try of Information, and each edition of the show needs individual approval from the relevant government ministry, he explained.

“If government leaders say that the program is not good, then we will stop it, but if they say it is good, then we will continue with the debate,” said the show’s producer, Chhorn Bun Hom. The current series is scheduled to run until July.

The debate is hosted by Kesor Raniya, formally of Radio Free Asia. “She’s a very smart, experienced journalist who is able to ask some very pointed questions,” Littlewood said.

 

 

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