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Beehive Radio Protest To Go Forward

Cambodian supporters of Mam Sonando, one of Cambodia’s most prominent human rights defenders, protest in front of the Phnom Penh Municipal Court, in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Monday, Oct. 1, 2012. Some 300 supporters gathered to demand the release of local radio station owner Mam Sonando, who is accused of leading a secession, and has been held in pre-trial detention for almost two months. His verdict is scheduled to be announced at the court on Monday. (AP Photo/Heng Sinith
Independent radio broadcaster Mam Sonando says he will go forward with a planned demonstration Jan. 27, in protest of the government’s refusal to allow him to expand his radio reach and open a television station.

The Minister of Information denied permission for the expansion, but Mam Sonando, whose Beehive Radio broadcasts the Voice of America, Radio Free Asia and other international programming, told reporters Friday the denial is unconstitutional.

“I will lead a demonstration to correct the Cambodian government into respecting the constitution,” he said. “I appeal to the government to reconsider my request.”

Mam Sonando said he had been making this request since 2005, but it has always been denied. In a letter earlier this month, Information Minister Khieu Kanharith said the request was denied because Cambodia lacks the space to add new frequencies.

A spokesman for the Phnom Penh municipality said the city has not granted Mam Sonando permission to hold a demonstration.