Cambodia’s Ministry of Information on Thursday rejected suggestions that it is targeting Radio Free Asia and Voice of America following its decision to suspend the operations of several independent radio stations that relayed news content from the two U.S. media outlets deemed critical of the government.
On Wednesday, the ministry ordered radio stations Women’s Media Center of Cambodia (WMC) and Moha Nokor—both of which leased airtime to RFA and VOA—to suspend operations for violating terms of their license agreements.
WMC 102FM was told it had violated its 2006 agreement by airing news from RFA and VOA for more than 30 minutes each, prompting the station to end relays of the broadcasts, while Moha Nokor 93.5FM—which also aired programs by the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP)—was ordered to terminate its operations for airing “outside programs without requesting authorization.”
Speaking at a press conference in the capital Phnom Penh on Thursday, Information Minister Khieu Kanharith told reporters that the ministry’s decision to suspend the two radio stations had nothing to do with the U.S. media outlets.
“Don’t twist my words, the Ministry of Information has not shut RFA and VOA—I want to be clear on this point,” he said.
“There have been some rumors that the ministry will block these two broadcasters [from establishing radio stations in Cambodia]. I am waiting to hear their proposals so that I can decide whether they can do so.”
In the meantime, he said, RFA and VOA are free to lease air time from another radio station.
Full story: rfa.org
Reported by Sereyvuth Oung and Sokheng Saut for RFA’s Khmer Service. Translated by Sarada Taing. Written in English by Joshua Lipes.
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