Archive for Media

Censorship in Cambodia

Posted in Countries, Latest of Asienreisender with tags , , , , , on July 15, 2013 by Thim Kwai

On the annual world press freedom index of ‘Reporters Without Borders’ the Southeast Asian countries all rank more or less low. The ‘freest’ countries in this sense are among the European Democracies as Finnland, the Netherlands, Norway and a few others. Cambodia ranks in 2013 on 143 out of 179 listed countries. It dropped compared to 2012 for 26 ranks down.

The Cambodian constitution guarantees the freedom of speech, press freedom, freedom of publication and freedom of assembly. In reality this legislation means little or nothing.

Almost all the Cambodian medias are owned by political parties or persons who are close to a political party – the concentration is clearly in the hands of the ruling Cambodian Peoples Party (CPP). All the eight TV-stations are connected to the CPP. Very few radio broadcasters can be seen as politically neutral. Therefore the information is tinted by the interest of the government. Critical reports are rare, oppositional medias are under pressure and intimidation. Their number shrinked considerably in the years since 2008. Self-censorship happens as a result.

The professional level of journalism is generally on a low level in Cambodia. The tone is frequently very aggressive, insults happen in many cases. In the last ten years there have been about ten journalists killed; foreign observers blame the government for being behind the killings. In none of the cases one of the committers has been hold responsible. In other cases journalists have been arrested.

In a 2009 poll of the human rights organization ‘Licadho’ 52% of the interviewed Cambodian journalists said they have been threatened with physical violence at least for one time.

Governmental influence on the freedom of media are often justified by maintaining the national security and stability, although it is not backed by the Cambodian laws. National security is not precisely defined by the law, though, it seems to be when the government can do what it want, without control or critique.

In June 2013, while the July 28 election campaign was running, foreign broadcasters as ‘Voice of America’ and ‘Radio Free Asia’ were banned to report in Khmer language on campaign matters. This edict was reversed again later after severe protest, particularly from the USA.

It seems now that the internet comes more and more into the focus of governmental surveillance. The internet is a growing power and offers manyfold opportunities to publish critical content. The official justification for controlling the internet is always the ‘public moral’: pornography and games could harm children…

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

Keep yourself up-to-date

Check the list of recently published articles on a great variety of Southeast Asian themes. All of them are richly illustrated: Asienreisender

Media in Cambodia

Posted in Countries, Latest of Asienreisender with tags , , , , on July 14, 2013 by Thim Kwai

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.

Know…

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

Keep yourself up-to-date

Check the list of recently published articles on a great variety of Southeast Asian themes. All of them are richly illustrated: Asienreisender