Video goes viral after Cambodia tries to silence popular rapper

The censorship of a song on labour rights highlights the challenges of Cambodia’s increasingly restrictive cultural climate.

Cambodian rapper Kea Sokun was once jailed for his hard-hitting lyrics, but that did not stop him from forging ahead with his latest release, Workers Blood, set to scenes of striking garment workers beaten by military police. At least four workers died in the protests.

“They fought for their rights, for freedom, the search for justice full of obstacles,” Sokun raps in Khmer. “I would like to commemorate the heroism of the workers who sacrificed their lives.”

Within days of the song’s release on January 3 — the ninth anniversary of the government’s deadly response to a vast garment workers’ strike — the Ministry of Culture warned the music video was “inciting content that may cause insecurity and social disorder”.

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