Cambodia reverses ban on foreign programmes on radio

PHNOM PENH Sun Jun 30, 2013 5:42am BST

Cambodia's Prime Minister Hun Sen and his wife Bun Rany (R) arrive at an election campaign area in Phnom Penh June 27, 2013. REUTERS/Samrang Pring

Cambodia's Prime Minister Hun Sen and his wife Bun Rany (R) arrive at an election campaign area in Phnom Penh June 27, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Samrang Pring

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PHNOM PENH (Reuters) - Cambodia has quickly reversed a ban on foreign media content on local radio stations after protests from broadcasters, the public and the United States, which had expressed concern about the flow of information ahead of a general election next month.

Prime Minister Hun Sen, one of the world's longest-serving leaders, has total control of local television and most radio stations and his Cambodian People's Party (CPP) is expected to win the election on July 28.

Late on Friday, the Information Ministry had told radio stations to suspend broadcasting Khmer-language programmes by foreign media until after the election. It reinforced the message with a phone call to at least one local station on Friday evening.

The ministry issued a statement late on Saturday overturning the ban. Information Minister Khieun Kanharith said on his Facebook page the ban had been ordered by other officials while he had been campaigning for the election outside the capital.

"Shutting down information and media is not the option of the Information Ministry. Thanks to officials for understanding this, even though in the last few days I have been insulted unfairly," he added.

(Reporting by Prak Chan Thul; Editing by Alan Raybould and Michael Perry)

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