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Khmer Civilization and Tradition (in English)Posted: 2009-10-01 23:02:50   Replies: 0
Cambodia Media

Cambodia has a very lively and relatively unregulated media sector. Print, radio and television outlets are numerous. Ownership in the broadcasting arena is starting to become concentrated in the hands of public-private consortiums, based on their more successful commercial appeal as compared with the government-run services.

In comparison with other developing countries of the region, Cambodia has a multiplicity of broadcast media services, largely due to deregulation of the broadcasting industry, which has encouraged a proliferation of privately-run television and radio stations. In general, those with an overtly political agenda have drawn fewer viewers than those operating on a more commercial basis and with greater entertainment content. But even the leading commercial stations depend on political patronage, coupled with the deep pockets that only the larger media owners can provide.

Radio broadcasting commenced in Cambodia during the mid-1950s and continued in operation until 1975. National Radio Kampuchea (RNK) was established as a liberation radio station in December 1978 and has operated as the national broadcaster ever since. Today it may be heard on both AM 918 KHz and FM 96 MHz. There are currently 25 radio stations nationwide, with 17 of these based in Phnom Penh.
In a joint venture with KCS Cambodia Co Ltd, the Phnom Penh Municipal Government owns a suite of popular commercial radio stations, supplying the capital city and the provincial centres of Sihanoukville, Kampot, Kompong Cham, Svay Rieng, Battambang, Siem Reap and Preah Vihear with an easy-listening mix of song requests, jokes, recipes, health tips, sports news and religious thoughts.
In addition to Phnom Penh Radio FM 103 MHz, listeners in the capital can also hear drivetime reports on traffic and weather conditions on Radio Sweet FM 88 MHz (which also offers some Chinese-language programming) or tune in to English-language pop on Radio Love FM 97.5 MHz. Despite their lightweight content, these stations offer a venue of cultural commentary which is open to the general public through talkback and other forms of audience participation. One of FM 88s most popular commentators, Chap Soeun, was hired on the basis of his frequent phone calls and engaging talk style.
The Kandal Province-based Bayon Radio FM 95 MHz was founded in 1997 under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Hun Sen and his wife. Other important radio stations include Royal Cambodia Armed Forces Radio FM 98 MHz (1995), Apsara Radio FM 97 MHz (1996) and the commercial stations Radio FM 90 MHz (1992), Radio FM 99 MHz (1995), Radio Khmer FM 107 MHz (1995) and Radio Beehive FM 105 MHz (1998).

Television broadcasting commenced in 1966. The studios of National Television Kampuchea (TVK) were destroyed in 1975 but re-established in 1979 after the overthrow of the Khmer Rouge.
TVK began broadcasting in colour in 1986, at the same time expanding its broadcasting times and frequency. Since 1993 the company has been known in English as National Television of Cambodia. In 1998 TVK moved to a new state-of-the-art television centre built with Japanese, Australian and French aid. In addition to TVK, television stations currently operational in Cambodia include Royal Cambodia Armed Forces Television (TV5), Cambodia Television (CTV9), Apsara Television (TV11), Bayon Television (TV27), Phnom Penh Television (TV3) and Cambodian Television Network (CTN).
Television broadcasting coverage is heavily concentrated in Phnom Penh. Only three television stations have near-complete coverage nationally: TVK, Bayon (owned by the ruling Cambodian Peoples Party), and the privately owned Cambodia Television Network (CTN).
CTN and the Royal Cambodia Armed Forces Television (TV5), which has Thai-Cambodian ownership, have been vying for the top spot as the most viewed channel in Phnom Penh. The newer Cambodia Television Network (CTN) began broadcasting in 2002 and is owned by the same company that operates Mobitel, a major telecommunications service. CTN has begun broadcasting nationally using its mobile network, while TV5s coverage has been limited to the areas around its sub-stations at Bokor (near Kampot), Battambang and Siem Reap.
Phnom Penh TV (TV3), jointly owned by Phnom Penh Municipality and private investors, also has a large following in Phnom Penh and is able to relay its programmes to selected provinces through the network of provincial government stations at Rattanakiri, Battambang, Pursat and Sihanoukville.
All of these stations produce local entertainment programmes, including drama serials, comedy hours and ghost story thrillers. Private production houses are also developing programme content and have been responsible for some better-quality material in recent years. Game shows and song-and-dance variety shows are popular, some of them sponsored by large consumer product companies such as Nestl, Hitachi and Unilever.
The intense competition and as yet fairly slow economic growth has meant that advertising costs have remained steady over the past few years; Cambodia offers among the cheapest TV advertising spots in Asia.
Thai soaps were extremely popular in Cambodia up to early 2002, but were blocked by a government directive following anti-Thai riots. The ban opened up new opportunities for local production and also brought in a variety of material from other countries, dubbed in Khmer. At the time of writing drama serials and made-for-TV movies from India, mainland China and Mexico are attracting substantial ratings.
Since 1991 many hotels, restaurants, clubs and government offices in Cambodia have installed satellite dishes, beaming in CNN, BBC World, and a wide variety of other programme choices from regional satellite networks such as Star TV (Hong Kong) and UBC (Thailand). Private hook-ups to local satellite services such as Cambodia Cable Television (CCTV) and Phnom Penh Municipal Cable Television are widely available, so middle-class television viewers at least have access to a wide range of programming from other Asian countries, as well as to English language services such as Discovery, HBO and the various news services. It is estimated that 10 per cent of Phnom Penh households has access to these networks.

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