Public Service Broadcaster Possibility in Cambodia

By Sun Narin

A new idea of the possible creation of Public Service Broadcaster (PSB) is introduced to other NGOs and media students in Cambodia, following the dissertation of Mr. Im Sothearith, the former DMC director and VOA reporte presented during the guest lecture at the Department of Media and Communication.

PSB is the idea of establishing the independent and professional media broadcaster for the people, which is not influenced by the government. Im Sothearith said during the lecture that it is not easy to create PSB and it takes time to make it possible, adding that most of the people do not understand much about what is PSB.

“I explain to them first about the PSB before I interview them. I approach the policymakers and tell them that it is not the threat , but it is the benefits for the whole country,” he said.”It is difficult to push them to reform.”

In the slide presentation by Im Sothearith, he found out that there are four main challenging for the existence of the PSB including dominant political influence from the ruling government, weak economy of the country, weak civil society and the absence of participatory culture.

All broadcasters in Cambodia are commercially and politically-influenced oriented including Apsara and Bayon, strongly influenced by the government and CTN and SEATV which are commercially dependent, Im Sothearith added.

In his dissertation for his PHD, he recommended the approaches to the creation of a PSB system that:

– Transformation vs creating a new one: He raised the example of reformation of TVK which is the state broadcaster.

– PSB organizational structure: Selection committee of the NGOs or Civil Society, Broadcasting Council of Governors and the Executive Board of Directors

PSB financial framework:

– commercial revenue or underwriting (corporate sponsorship)

– compulsory contribution from the private broadcasters

– License and utility fee

– Taxes

– Donation

He said that, “I hope that It will be created one day for the whole society benefits.”

Im Sothearith pursued his master degree of telecommunication in the United States and at the same time he got the master degree of public administration. He is now doing his dissertation for PHd related to mass communication. He is also the one who initiated the creation of DMC in 2001.

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