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Beehive Continues to Operate Without Mam Sonando

After its manager/owner was imprisoned last month on charges of defaming the government and Prime Minister Hun Sen, Beehive FM 105 radio station continues its operations as usual.

President of the Cambodia National Research Organization (CNRO) and president of a committee to reinforce the law for human rights defense, Heang Rithy Friday quoted Mr. Mam Sonando as saying that he is concerned about his radio's operations especially in administrative, business, and accounting in his absence.

Heang Rithy was given an opportunity to visit the Beehive owner in jail this week. Heang Rithy said Mam Sonando wanted to tell his staff to be strong and that his spirit is not broken.

Mam Sonando's wife, Din Phannara, said that she is now in charge of all aspects of the daily operation.

Mam Sonando and Rong Chhun, president of Cambodia Independent Teachers Association, were arrested and imprisoned on charges of defaming the government and Prime Minister Hun Sen on border issues.

Beehive FM105 first began its operations in August 1996. It was closed in 1998 after airing an interview with opposition party's president Sam Rainsy and Prince Ranarith, president of the FUNCINPEC party protesting the 1998 election results.

Since 2002, Beehive rebroadcasts VOA and RFA programs in Khmer and directly broadcasts programs for NDI's, the Cambodia Center for Human Rights, and the Khmer Women's Voice Center's programs.

NDI-Cambodia's senior program officer Preap Kol says that NDI buys one hour air time from Beehive for broadcasting programs on relationship between lawmakers and the people.

Beehive 105FM increased its broadcasts from one kilowatt to 5 kilowatts in 2005