TV stations defend coverage of Kem Ley funeral march

Source : The Phnom Penh Post / Thu, 28 July 2016 by

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Kem Ley’s funeral procession crosses the Chroy Changvar bridge in Phnom Penh earlier this week. Hong Menea

State-run National Television of Kampuchea (TVK) yesterday defended its decision to provide limited coverage to Kem Ley’s funeral procession.

“We broadcasted the procession,” KTV director Kem Gunawadh told the Post. “The duration of the broadcast was almost seven minutes,” he added, before quickly correcting himself, acknowledging the broadcast was closer to two minutes. “We broadcasted what we could as the state media,” he said.

Other local stations also aired limited coverage of the parade, which drew tens, if not hundreds, of thousands in the capital.

“We aired a news spot lasting around two to three minutes,” said Huy Vannak, news editor for sister stations CTN and CNC. “As for the criticism, we cannot just do whatever the public wants. We have our own strategies. No one can force or twist us to do this or that.”

A day before the procession, TV outlets had been warned not to broadcast “images and content related to murder”, though the Information Ministry on Monday said it had only been reiterating pre-existing policy.

Facebook users complained about the lack of attention given the event, with multiple users claiming they had to seek out Thai and Singaporean outlets for more extensive coverage.

Moeun Chhean Naridh, director of the Cambodia Institute for Media Studies, said the credibility of TV stations was at stake.

“Credibility and public trust are hard to build,” Naridh said, claiming stations must choose “whether they want to serve the public interest, or to abide by the government order”.

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