Wednesday, 7 May 2008

As Election Nears, Media Still Biased: Expert

By Sok Khemara, VOA Khmer
06 May 2008

Khmer audio aired May 05 (6.13MB) - Download (MP3)
Khmer audio aired May 05 (6.13MB) - Listen (MP3)

Media coverage ahead of this year’s elections has been no different than in years past, an expert said Monday, with many journalists and their media outlets biased or subsidized by politics.

“If people do not understand clearly about each political party’s platform, or personality of politicians, these experiences make it difficult of them to decide in electing politicians,” said Moeun Chhean Nariddh, a journalism trainer who was guest on “Hello VOA” Monday.

Observers have warned that the ruling Cambodian People’s Party enjoys much more thorough coverage in the months leading to elections, from radio, TV and newspapers.

Moeun Chhean Nariddh said most of the country’s 22 radio stations broadcast in favor of the ruling party, as well as seven TV stations, including National TVK.

Of all the media, newspapers are the least biased, but even they are politically influenced, he said.

That was no help to rural voters, many of whom are illiterate and rely on radio and TV for information.

Cambodia can and should seek independent news coverage, following the examples of the UK, Australia and Canada he said. Some countries have state media the works independently and even criticizes the government, he added.

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