Media and Elections

After 2004 Elections, according to NDI, the creation of community media centers in various provinces and municipalities, the broadcasting of equity programs on national television (TVK), the establishment of an NEC Media Center, the broadcasting of multi party candidate debates, and media monitoring by the National Election Commission and Election Monitoring Organizations are indications that stakeholders recognized the important role of the media in free and fair elections. More open and equal access was given to contesting parties in the state media during the campaign period. Programs such as a daily equity news program, candidate debates, public forums, round-table discussions on party platforms afforded parties with media access not seen in earlier elections.

During the past recent years, since the internet usage has significantly increased, Cambodian voters, especially the young ones have been flocking to Facebook. Political parties, such as the ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) and Cambodian National Rescue Party (CNRP),  paid special attention to online campaign in order to gain popularity and hoping to gain votes from the online media users. One of the advantages of online media is availability of independent news and information outlet that are not under the same restrictions as the largely state-controlled media.

Government figures show that the internet users in Cambodia has increased from one percent to nearly 20 percent from 2010 to 2012. In 2013 Elections, the online campaign allowed the opposition to bring up issues like human rights, social justice, corruption, education and unemployment to attract young voters. While the NEC did not interfere the online campaigns, and only issued an appeal for social media users to refrain from spreading misinformation. Nevertheless, the impact of social media is still limited in rural areas. The rural electorates still rely mainly on state-controlled radio and television for news and information.

Reference:

Cambodian Elections: Lessons Learned and Future Directions- A Post-Election Conference Report, National Democratic Institute for International Affairs, February, 2004, https://www.ndi.org/files/1782_kh_report_021204.pdf.

Faine Greenwood, Social Media Drives Youth Involvement in Cambodia’s National Elections, July 31, 2013, http://kounila.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/Social-Media-Drives-Youth-Involvement-in-Cambodia.pdf.

Sophat Soeung, Social Media’s Growing Influence on Cambodian Politics, Asia Pacific Bulletin Number 222, East-West Center, July 23, 2013,
http://www.eastwestcenter.org/sites/default/files/private/apb_222.pdf.

Resources :

PDF : RSF worried by Hun Sen regime’s repeated attacks on media freedom (RSF: 2016, updated on March 24 2017)
PDF : Social Media Drives Youth Involvement in Cambodia’s National Elections (Faine Greenwood: 2013) Cambodia’s June 28 national elections ushered in the dawn of a new age of electoral politics in the small, southeast Asian country. A hotly contested election saw unprecedented political engagement coming from the country’s youth, those under 25 years old, on online social media.
PDF : Social Media’s Growing Influence on Cambodian Politics (Asia Pacific Bulletin: 2013)
PDF : Media and Elections Guidelines (UNTAC: 1992) – Media guidelines for Cambodia, drafted by the Information/Education Division of the United Nations Transitional Authority in Cambodia (UNTAC) in 1992.
PDF : Media Monitoring Results, State Television Company TVK from 21 June to 27 July (EU: 2008)
Link : Broadcasting Board of Governors’ Statement On Media In Cambodia (Broadcasting Board of Governors: Jan 30, 2014)
Link : Can Cambodia’s Media Reform? (The Diplomat: Apr 22, 2014) – Without sweeping reform, traditional media in Cambodia is at risk of becoming irrelevant.
Link : Virtual Democracy (SEA Globe: Nov 11, 2013) – The rapid spread of social media is altering Cambodia’s political landscape.
Link : Local Media Still Censored in run-up to General Elections (Reporters without Borders: Jul 26, 2013) – Reporters regrets that the government has maintained its 21 June ban on local radio stations broadcasting commentaries and opinion polls during the five days prior to the 28 July general elections and on election day itself, including the broadcasting of any results on election day.
Link : Social media fuels new politics (Asia Times: Aug 6, 2013)
Link : Cambodia election proves Facebook more than just a social network (Asian Correspondent: Aug 15, 2013) – When the National Election Committee (NEC) released its updated preliminary election results this Monday, confirming a narrow win by the ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP), opposition leader Sam Rainsy posted his reaction to the announcement on his Facebook page.  Rainsy questioned the release of the results by the body in spite of a pending independent investigation into alleged irregularities.
Link : Free media crucial for free and fair elections in Cambodia (IFEX: Jul 19, 2013)
Link : Foreign Radio Broadcasts Banned Ahead of Election (Cambodia Daily: Jun 29, 2013)
Link : Cambodia Elections: The Facebook Vote (Global Voices: Jul 11, 2013)
Link : Overcoming limitations to meet election reporting challenges (SEAPA: Oct 15, 2013) – This article examines how Cambodian journalists reported during the 28 July elections, Cambodia’s fifth democratic, multi-party elections since the Paris Peace Accord in 1993.
Link : Government bans independent radio stations from election coverage (SEAPA: Jun 8, 2012)

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