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Family Claims It Was Warned Against Listening to VOA, RFA

PHNOM PENH - A family outside the capital says it has been warned by local authorties not to listen to radio broadcasts from the Voice of America and Radio Free Asia.

Meav Oun, 38, from Kandal province’s Kean Svay district, told VOA Khmer that the local village chief has told her father not to listen to the US programming, unless he wants to “face a problem.”

“They have accused us of listening to VOA and disturbing the neighbors, but my father only has a small radio and is not disturbing anyone,” she said.

Kam La, village chief for Toul Tnout, Kor Ky commune, denied the accusation. “It is their right to listen,” she said. “I myself listen to VOA.”

The alleged threat comes just weeks after the Ministry of Information briefly banned radio stations from broadcasting foreign material, but quickly rescinded the ban. Political observers say the ruling party’s near monopoly on broadcast media means not enough information is getting to the voters.

Am Sam Ath, monitoring supervisor for the rights group Licadho, said any ban on people’s access to information will interfere with their right to an informed vote.