Election Watch by Sophoan: Bias of the media in Cambodia

In conclusion, the media plays vital role to receive free and fair election. The share of time and footage must be equal. The reporters must be in the sate of professionalism and independence. But in Cambodia, the independent reporters have been considered non-existence. Only few foreign media affiliates who are independent but still under fear of reprisal of their news if it is critical to the government or powerful entities. The NEC has no ability to resort independent media at all as this body is likely created by the controller of the media.

 

Democracy couldn’t be mushroomed if the media is not a mean for people to weigh their decision making and social participation.

It is a trustworthy and popular word saying that Cambodia under the leadership of Prime Minister Hun Sen, the media in this country is not neutral and independent. On his term of every full five years, major media including TVs, Radio channels and printing media, have been drumming loudly to support the ruling party. Those reporters must avoid as much as possible to report news critical to the government. Particularly, TV channels of both government-owned TVK and other several private channels have aired every word of Hun Sen’s speech from the beginning to the end without interrupting by ads sport during all events of his speech and participation.

However, during the election campaign, I do hope those traditional practices would be changed and National Election Committee (NEC) can monitor all media not to be biased. Hence, my thought has been changed after watching two video clips available online on the first day of election campaign on 27 June 2013.

First clip is from Cambodia Television Network (CTN) which is a private channel and it is popularly viewed by major Cambodians. The commentator from the main office in Phnom Penh coordinates to different reporters from different locations entire Cambodia. Those local reporters are likely at the same mindset in their reporting that there are only large rally from the CPP, and they don’t see other party organized a rally during their reporting time. The news anchor repeated that it is true that only CPP that has much ability for the campaign; they have a lot of supporters and volunteers. Once, the anchor tried to balance his news by saying that it is normal for the government to have more accessibility and organizing ability more than other parties as same as in Germany and many other countries (sic). Thus, the footage broadcasted the rally of CPP more than other party especially the key rival of this party: CNRP.

The second clip is from TVK, the only one channel considered free media owned by the government using the people’s money (tax collection), but previous times before the national election campaign, this channel has never allowed opposition parties to air their voice at all. Their first news footage on the first day of Election Campaign, the rally footage repeatedly displayed the ruling party (CPP), not the opponent party (CNRP). The volume of footage released to the public for people view is not in the equal sharing level at all.

In conclusion, the media plays vital role to receive free and fair election. The share of time and footage must be equal. The reporters must be in the sate of professionalism and independence. But in Cambodia, the independent reporters have been considered non-existed. Only few foreign media affiliates who are independent but still under fear of reprisal of their news if it is critical to the government or powerful entities. The NEC has no ability to resort independent media at all as this body is likely created by the controller of the media.

Democracy couldn’t be mushroomed if the media is not a mean for people to weigh their decision making and social participation.

Election Watch by Sophoan: Sport Footage for party campaign

Introduction:

Among other means to attract voters, political parties have always produced their short video sports to address policy, social change advocacy, development plan, governance, natural resource protection, political platform and leadership etc. I have watched video clips from Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) and Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) and I cannot stop my hand from sharing them with everyone.

CNRP

There are three available clips of CNRP online. Each clip is depicting different stories and events. First clip described in details on the unification of Sam Rainsy Party and Human Rights Party by highlighting two prominent leaders: Sam Rainsy and Kem Sokha. The speech at the first solemn meeting after the creation of this unity describes the key policies party to be carried out if the party won majority to establish the government. The statement is reflecting the inability and injustice which are mushrooming under the current leadership of CPP. Those policies are summarized importantly such as implementing liberal democracy and the rule of law, independent judiciary, limit the mandate of prime minister into two mandates maximum and protection national sovereignty. The policy is concise into 7 key points such as increase wage and living standards of the people, offering monthly support fund to seniors, increase wage for labors up to 150$ per month, public servants wage increasing, rice price must not be less than 1000 riel, health care is free for low income people, create loan for students to complete higher education, and reduce the cost of gasoline, fertilizer and electricity etc.

The second video clip echoes the fever of Cambodian youths in supporting the CNRP as well as their gangnam style songs describing the key policy of the party.

For third video clip, those footage describe extensively on the courageous action of Sam Rainsy in protecting the land of the farmers at the border, injustice towards those people, violence act of the authority towards the people, the land conflict and forced eviction, and the deforestation under the leadership of current ruling party (CPP).

CPP

The video clip is a political ads which is undeniable on its logic. Highlighting the success from zero ground during the Khmer Rouge regime by showing tall buildings, paving roads and stability, is logically undeniable. Using commenting speech by sliding the photos including crediting as much as possible to the prime minister candidate, is considered good plan on marketing.

Conclusion:

The unification gave great philosophy to the CNRP on the agenda of national unity without categorizing any Khmer as enemy. CNRP has led an approach of diffusing new vision to develop this nation and this party has gained huge support on changing the leaders by mandating prime minister only two terms. Developing genuine democracy and the rule of law, bringing about independent judiciary, tackling corruption and sovereign integrity etc. are absolutely vital to the post baby boomers of Cambodia. The 7 key points have attracted baby boomers gigantically. However, the footage have not been professional edited and those footage don’t meet standard for public views.

While CPP has used the past memory of genocidal, year zero and civil war as the mean to attract voters, the displaying of new tall building, roads and stability have shared it huge vital voice as well. CPP’s short sport has been carefully checked and edited, the CNRP’s sports need to re-organize a little bit on both quality and quantity.

CNRP and CPP have two different political platform to attract voters: CNRP is diffusing new idea and vision to bring about positive change for this nation; CPP has strengthened its political status quo by using the strong mean of genocidal and civil war; or we can say CNRP is seeing the past as the great experience to push for today’s change for a better tomorrow while the CPP is dragging back to scare people about the past and give them a thought on the danger of changing.

However, according to records from other countries, the CPP’s approach is not relevant. If the CPP has no means of controlling the media, influencing on public servants including election committee, enjoy free ride of using public assets to run the election, the CPP has no chance to gaining votes from the people.