Media in Cambodia

There are few newspapers in Cambodia, and they don’t have many readers. In all day life I see very seldom somebody reading a newspaper. That’s remarkably different in neighbouring Thailand, in Malaysia or even in Indonesia. Apart from some 20 bigger newspapers in Khmer language there are two in English, ‘The Cambodia Daily’ and ‘The Phnom Penh Post’, and two others in Chinese. Since illiteracy is so widespread here, many Cambodians are anyway unable to read a paper.

Radio broadcasting is established in Cambodia since the mid 1950s. Nowadays there are 40 stations broadcasting, among them also foreign stations as BBC, RFI and ABC. The national station ‘Radio National Cambodia’ exists since 1978.

TV programmes are running since 1966. There are eight programmes, all coming from Phnom Penh, reaching a radius of 200km around the capital. Some broadcast stations use transmitters to reach audiences in the provinces. Four of them are available via satellite. In Phnom Penh some ten percent of the households have TV, in the countryside TV is still seldom to see.

The quality of the programme is pretty poor. It’s serials, mostly soap operas, game shows, sports and political indoctrination. Thai soap operas are very popular, but their popularity suffered a knockback due to the anti-Thai Phnom Penh Riots in 2003.

Most TV stations shut down in the evening and start next morning again.

For 2015 Cambodian TV is announced to change to digital broadcasting.

The center of all the medias is Phnom Penh, where most of them are located and the provinces mostly adapt to the content of what’s coming from the capital.

After the four years of ‘Democratic Kampuchea’, when broadcast stations were destroyed and newspapers didn’t exist, the media of Cambodia had to be rebuilt from the scratch in the 1980s.

Internet was introduced into the country in 1992/93. Nowadays there are merely between 12,000 and 70,000 internet users in Cambodia. It doesn’t play an important role. The above mentioned illiteracy plays an important role for that, and the access to computers and internet is low. Internet connections are not cheap and the quality is variable.

The mostly used media is the mobile phone. 20% of the Cambodians use a mobile telephone.


This is only a part of the illustrated article ‘Cambodia’. Read the whole article on Cambodia by Asienreisender.

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