The U.S. Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) Thursday unanimously passed the following resolution regarding the arrest and incarceration of Mam Sonando, director of Beehive Radio in Phnom Penh.
BROADCASTING BOARD OF GOVERNORS.
WHEREAS,the arrest and incarceration of Mam Sonando, director of Beehive Radio in Phom Penh, raises serious concerns about press freedom in Cambodia;
WHEREAS, Beehive FM 105 is the only independent Cambodian radio station, and thus symbolizes freedom of expression;
WHEREAS, the Cambodian authorities are using defamation charges against Mam Sonando following criticism of government policies aired by Beehive regarding a border agreement with Vietnam;
WHEREAS, Prime Minister Hun Sen has said publicly that he will use the courts to prosecute anyone critical of the government concerning the border issue;
WHEREAS, the prime minister's actions are creating a climate of fear that has had a chilling effect on press freedom and the freedom of expression in Cambodia;
WHEREAS, a number of human rights leaders, trade union activists, and opposition party members have fled the country, fearing arrest;
WHEREAS, Beehive Radio is a prime souce for Cambodians to hear Radio Free Asia, the Voice of america, and other international broadcasters;
IT IS HEREBY RESOLVED:
The Broadcasting Board of Governors hereby calls for the immediate release of Mam Sonando and urges the Cambodian government to refrain from using defamation charges, or otherwise retaliating, against journalists who air criticism of government policies.
The BBG is an independent federal agency which supervises all U.S. government-supported non-military international broadcasting, including the Voice of America (VOA), Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Radio Free Asia, Alhurra TV and Radio Sawa, Radio and TV Marti. Through its broadcast services, the BBG provides the U.S. and its leaders direct and immediate access to a worldwide audience of over 140 million people.