The Cambodia Daily
By Denise Hruby and Kuch Naren
December 10, 2012
The U.N. Development Program (UNDP) said last month’s suspension of
the “Equity Weekly” television program was uniquely due to a decision
made by the Ministry of Information after the show aired a feature on
economic land concessions in Ratanakkiri province.
“[T]he suspension was initially suggested by the Ministry of
Information and agreed to by UNDP Cambodia,” a UNDP spokesperson said in
“Equity Weekly,” which is broadcast every Sunday on the state-run
channel TVK, funded by UNDP and aims at promoting good governance
through investigative journalism, was taken off the air after the
station received a complaint from the Ministry of Information announcing
its displeasure over archive footage showing images of logging in the
“The decision was taken following a technical error in the identity
of a portion of the footage used in a story related to the [Virachey]
National Park in Ratanakkiri province. That portion of the footage was
an archive but was not properly identified as such, which resulted in a
misunderstanding,” the UNDP spokesperson said.
Environment Minister Mok Mareth confirmed that a letter he had sent
to the Information Ministry had brought about the popular show’s
suspension from broadcast.
“Yes, because if there’s wrong information, [there’s] no show,” Mr.
Mareth said. “I wrote down the mistakes and sent it to the Ministry of
Information,” which then informed TVK’s “Equity Weekly.”
Asked to comment on the government’s suspension of the show,
Information Minister Khieu Kanharith referred a reporter to a letter his
ministry had written to the UNDP.
“As for the letter, we unfortunately are unable to share with you as
it is a formal correspondence addressed to UNDP specifically,” the UNDP
On November 11, the last time “Equity Weekly” was broadcast, the
host, Khem Vuthy, spent almost 25 minutes apologizing for the report
made on September 30, which discussed the impacts of 50,000 hectares of
economic land concessions used for rubber plantations in the Virachey
National Park in Ratanakkiri—a province beset by land disputes and
Ouy Bounmy, “Equity Weekly’s” senior producer, said that after the
broadcast, he had to meet with Minister of Information Mr. Kanharith.
“Now it is just suspended. We are under discussion to improve
reporting skills, because we don’t want to make or repeat the same
mistakes again,” he said.
Spokesman for the Council of Ministers Phay Siphan said he did not
believe that the show was suspended for its investigative journalism.
“This is not the government’s attitude. I know [Mr. Kanharith] very
well and he wants to maintain different voices to be heard. There is no
attitude to block free flow of ideas.”