The Khmer Youth Association criticized TV9 on Monday, claiming the television station had sold airtime to the Angkor Beer Co to advertise a weekly live music concert at which young people were given free alcohol.
“It is awful to present the image of young people drinking beer and dancing, because this lures Cambodian youth to drink alcohol,” said Khmer Youth Association Director Yong Kim Eng.
The Khmer Youth Association advises against alcohol consumption over the radio and through distributed leaflets, said Yong Kim Eng, adding that alcohol leads youth to abandon school and commit crimes.
“TV9 is only thinking about making money, and they do not care about young people’s health,” Yong Kim Eng said.
Broadcast every Sunday from
2 pm to 4 pm, TV9 invites famous singers to sing pop and rock songs that are popular in bars and nightclubs. Tickets to the televised concerts cost $1 each, and when attendees enter they are given the choice of having two free Angkor beers or two Pepsi-Colas.
According to the Khmer Youth Association, which monitors television advertising, TV9 is showing Angkor and other beer brands’ advertisements more often than other TV stations.
Yong Kim Eng urged the Information Ministry to shut down TV9’s broadcast immediately.
Minister of Information Lu Laysreng could not be reached for comment on Monday.
A TV9 manager who declined to be named said Monday that Angkor Beer buys the TV9 program to promote Angkor beer.
Every Sunday, between 100 and 200 youths attend the concerts, she said, adding that the station previously was allowed to film the audience dancing to the songs, but now focused their cameras on the stage only.
“The concert audience does not drink enough to encourage viewers to drink excessively,” she said. The manager said that if the program’s ties with Angkor Beer were shown to turn young Cambodians into drunkards, then the station would cancel the program.
“Our station is working to help the people, not harm them,” she said.