Sonando Fans to Stage Protest for TV License

Mam Sonando, owner of the popular Beehive Radio station, and his supporters will defy a government ban on public gatherings and start daily protests against the Ministry of Information’s rejection of Mr. Sonando’s request for a relay station and a TV station, Mr. Sonando’s assistant said Wednesday. “It doesn’t matter if we will be allowed to stage rallies or not…we will keep going with our schedule to stage rallies and protest in front of the Ministry of Information,” Huon Pannary said Wednesday. She said the group would begin protesting on January 27. …. Moeun Chhean Nariddh, director of the Cambodian Institute for Media Studies, said that the ministry’s justification for denying the licenses—that there is not enough space on the frequency spectrum—was an excuse. … “The government has used the ‘no space’ reason to reply to any request to start a radio or TV station in Cambodia. The space has no limits, so they could have as many [radio and TV] stations as they would like to have,” he [Moeun Chhean Nariddh] said. City Hall spokesman Long Dimanche said that Mr. Sonando’s request to protest, submitted on Tuesday, had not yet been forwarded to Phnom Penh governor Pa Socheatvong. Minister of Information Khieu Kanharith did not respond to a request for comment. ….

Kuch Naren and Denise Hruby