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A Public Service Broadcasting Model for Developing Countries: The Case of Cambodia

A dissertation presented to the faculty of the Scripps College of Communication of Ohio University

In partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree Doctor of Philosophy

Sothearith Im June 2011 2011 Sothearith Im. All Rights Reserved.

This dissertation titled A Public Service Broadcasting Model for Developing Countries: The Case of Cambodia


has been approved for the School of Media Arts and Studies and the Scripps College of Communication by

_______________________________________________ Drew McDaniel Professor of Media Arts and Studies

_____________________________________________ Gregory J. Shepherd Dean, Scripps College of Communication


Abstract IM, SOTHEARITH, Ph.D., June 2011, Mass Communication A Public Service Broadcasting Model for Developing Countries: The Case of Cambodia Director of Dissertation: Drew McDaniel The study had three objectives. The first was to explore the potential for establishing a Public Service Broadcasting (PSB) system in developing countries using Cambodia as a case study. Four main factors - political circumstances, economic conditions, civil society and donors, and socio-cultural compatibility -- were examined to determine their impact on prospects for a future PSB system. The second was to develop an organizational structure for a future PSB that would make it independent of political and corporate influences. And the third was to develop a funding scheme for PSB that would make it financially sustainable in the long run. A qualitative method was used to conduct field research in Cambodia. In-depth interviews and focus groups were undertaken with 68 informants, including policymakers, media executives, media practitioners, civil society activists, and representatives of donor organizations as well as with ordinary citizens from different regions. Research data were also collected from primary materials. The study reached two key conclusions. The first was that dependency media was created by the interactions of a dominant political party, a weak economy and civil society, and the absence of a participatory culture. Thus, the prerequisites for the establishment of a PSB system hardly exist in Cambodia at the time the study was conducted in 2008. This was due to the fact that the ruling party dominated the political scene and strictly controls the existing media system, from which it derived important


political benefits; Cambodias weak economic conditions and low living standards severely limited the prospects for sustainable funding of a PSB system; civil society and donors were neither sufficiently strong nor had an interest in exerting pressure on the government to reform the existing media system and to place the establishment of a PBS on its agenda; and Cambodian society lacked a participatory culture, which was one of the crucial requirements for establishment of a PSB system as well as for democracy. The second conclusion was that an independent media system such as a PSB could easily emerge when political life was no longer controlled by a single political party.

Approved:_____________________________________________________________ Drew McDaniel Professor of Media Arts and Studies


To my mother, Kong Len, To my son, Zanara Thearith To my son, Santrana Thearith

Acknowledgements I have a few institutions to thank. First of all, I would like to express my appreciation to UNESCO for offering me the UNESCO/Keizo Obuchi fellowship which allowed me to complete writing of this dissertation. Ohio Universitys Student Enhancement Award, Ohios Graduate Student Senate Original Research Grant Award, and Ohio Universitys Graduate Student Senate Travel Grant must be acknowledged also for their contributions to make the fieldwork of this study successful. Also, I would like to express appreciation to the Documentation Center of Cambodia (DC-Cam) for partially funding fieldwork and providing me with office space, Internet access, transportation to the provinces, and a research assistant. I also have many people to thank, but I selectively choose those who were directly involved in making this dissertation a reality. My research over the past several years would not have been possible without advice, encouragement, and support of Professor Drew McDaniel, who has been my continuous mentor and chair of the dissertation committee. I thank dissertation committee members: Professor David Mould, Professor Robert Stewart, and Professor Judith Millesen. Don Jameson, who is a former U.S. diplomat posted to Cambodia between 1970 and 1974 and who follows Cambodia hour by hour, voluntarily copyedited the entire dissertation. Karla Schneider, Associate Director of Ohio Universitys Center for International Studies, initially proofread two chapters of the dissertation. Chris Decherd, a chief of Voice of Americas Khmer Service, was very encouraging and adjusted my working schedule so that I could travel to consult with my dissertation committee chair. Sinoun Kim, an Ohio Universitys graduate student


of Southeast Asia Studies, hosted me when I worked on the dissertation in Athens. Phay Chanthou gave me a US-Cambodia-US return air ticket. In Cambodia, I especially thank Youk Chhang, director of DC-Cam, who empowered me in many ways to get the dissertation done. Pheng Pong Rasy tirelessly helped me with transcribing and data collection. I must also thank Vantan Pov Dara, Deputy Director of DC-Cam, who helped organize trips, as well as many DC-Cam staff who helped transcribe my interviews. I wish to especially single out Polyne Hean, who lent me her ear on many occasions and also helped design a few figures used in this dissertation. I need to also express sincere gratitude to Dr. Bhandhira Lertdechdecha for arranging interviews with a few important informants in Thailand. My final word of thanks goes to all informants and those who helped make interviews and data collection possible.


Table of Contents Page Abstract .............................................................................................................................. iii Dedication ..v Acknowledgements ............................................................................................................ vi List of Tables ................................................................................................................... xiii List of Figures .................................................................................................................. xiv Chapter 1: Introduction ....................................................................................................... 1 Background and Purpose of the Study ............................................................................ 1 Problems and Research Questions .................................................................................. 3 Country Profile................................................................................................................ 6 Cambodias Media Landscape ........................................................................................ 8 Print media. ................................................................................................................. 9 Broadcast media. ....................................................................................................... 11 The growth of Cambodian broadcasting 1992-present. ............................................ 13 Challenges facing Cambodian broadcasters. ............................................................ 19 Professionalism. .................................................................................................... 19 Administration and management. ......................................................................... 23 Finance. ................................................................................................................. 24 Summary ....................................................................................................................... 25 Chapter 2: Review of Literature ....................................................................................... 26 Introduction ................................................................................................................... 26 Political Circumstances ................................................................................................. 27 Economic Conditions .................................................................................................... 32 Civil Society.................................................................................................................. 37 Socio-Cultural Compatibility ........................................................................................ 40 viii

Summary ....................................................................................................................... 43 Chapter 3: Methodology ................................................................................................... 45 Introduction ................................................................................................................... 45 Preliminary Study ......................................................................................................... 46 In-depth Interview ......................................................................................................... 48 Focus Group .................................................................................................................. 49 Analysis of Documents ................................................................................................. 52 Samples and Informants ................................................................................................ 53 Samples for in-depth interviews. .............................................................................. 55 Samples for focus groups. ......................................................................................... 71 Data Analysis ................................................................................................................ 80 Data Organization Process. ....................................................................................... 82 Limitations and Exclusions ........................................................................................... 86 Summary ....................................................................................................................... 87 Chapter 4: Political Circumstances ................................................................................... 89 Introduction ................................................................................................................... 89 Direct and Indirect Control ........................................................................................... 89 CPP and government................................................................................................. 90 Opposition parties. .................................................................................................... 94 Station representatives. ............................................................................................. 98 Media professionals. ................................................................................................. 99 Ordinary citizens. .................................................................................................... 103 Independent observers. ........................................................................................... 108 Law and Regulations................................................................................................... 115 CPP and government............................................................................................... 118 ix

Opposition parties. .................................................................................................. 124 Station representatives. ........................................................................................... 124 Media professionals. ............................................................................................... 127 Independent observers. ........................................................................................... 128 Summary ..................................................................................................................... 129 Chapter 5: Economic Conditions, Civil Society, Socio-Cultural Compatibility ............ 131 Introduction ................................................................................................................. 131 Economic Conditions .................................................................................................. 131 National economy. .................................................................................................. 131 Economy of broadcast media. ................................................................................. 133 Peoples Living Standard. ....................................................................................... 140 Civil Society and Potential Donors ............................................................................. 143 Local civil society groups. ...................................................................................... 143 Potential donors. ..................................................................................................... 149 Socio-cultural Compatibility....................................................................................... 156 Social structure........................................................................................................ 157 Participatory culture. ............................................................................................... 161 Publics attitudes toward broadcast media. ............................................................. 168 Summary ..................................................................................................................... 172 Chapter 6: Discussion and Conclusion ........................................................................... 174 Summary of Study ...................................................................................................... 174 Prospects for the establishment of PSB in Cambodia. ................................................ 175 Impact of political circumstances. .......................................................................... 177 Impact of the interaction between politics and economy........................................ 180 Impact of the interaction between politics and civil society. .................................. 182 x

Impact of the interaction between politics and socio-cultural compatibility. ......... 185 Impact of economic conditions. .............................................................................. 187 Impact of the interaction between economy and socio-cultural compatibility. ...... 189 Impact of civil society. ............................................................................................ 190 Impact of socio-cultural compatibility. ................................................................... 192 A Potential PSB System in Cambodia ........................................................................ 196 Approaches to the creation of a PSB system. ......................................................... 197 Transformation. ................................................................................................... 197 New creation. ...................................................................................................... 202 PSB organizational structure................................................................................... 203 Selection committee. ........................................................................................... 206 Broadcasting Council of Governors.................................................................... 207 Executive Board of Directors.............................................................................. 209 PSB Financial Framework .......................................................................................... 209 Commercial revenue or underwriting. .................................................................... 213 Compulsory contribution by private broadcasters. ................................................. 215 License and utility fees. .......................................................................................... 215 Taxes. ...................................................................................................................... 216 Donations. ............................................................................................................... 218 PSB Program Funding ................................................................................................ 220 Conclusion .................................................................................................................. 222 Recommendations for Future Research ...................................................................... 224 Recommendations for Practitioners ............................................................................ 225 References ....................................................................................................................... 228 Appendix A: Sample of an Invitation Letter................................................................... 244 Appendix B: Sample of the Letter to Thank Participants ............................................... 245 xi

Appendix C: List of Research Informants ...................................................................... 246 Appendix D: Interview Guide ......................................................................................... 249 Appendix E: Terms and Abbreviation ............................................................................ 252


List of Tables Page Table 1: Age and Gender of Research Participants .................78 Table 2: Gender and Education of Research Participants.....78 Table 3: Gender and Social Status of Research Participants.79 Table 4: Data of Fieldwork Interviews..84


List of Figures Page Figure 1: Cambodia is Geographically Divided into Four Regions72 Figure 2: Research Participants Broken Down in Percentage80 Figure 3: Annual Reach of Main International Broadcasters in Khmer.105 Figure 4: Media Use Frequency for News on Weekly Basis.106 Figure 5: Relationships among Influencing Factors and a PSB System176 Figure 6: Dependency Media is the Result of Interactions of all Factors..195


Chapter 1: Introduction Background and Purpose of the Study Public Service Broadcasting (PSB) serves as a public institution that educates (Graham & Davies, 1997; Tharoor, 2006), informs (Tharoor, 2006) and entertains the public, shapes public consciousness, and acts as a public forum (Garnham, 1986, 1992; Habermas, 1989) through which the public can voice their opinions. These concepts education, information, and entertainment are the principles formulated by the first Director-General of the BBC John Reith (Coppens & Saeys, 2006). PSB can be of great value to citizens who are willing to engage in policy making processes and political discussions in a democratic society (McCauley, Peterson, Artz, & Halleck, 2003). This role can only be possible in countries where the concepts of democracy and development are fully exercised and implemented. The dissertation aims to explore prerequisites for the establishment of a PSB model and its applicability in developing countries, using Cambodia as a case study. In seeking to identify the prerequisites for a PSB system, one must consider the interplay of factors such as politics, economics, civil society, donors, social structure, socio-cultural compatibility, and so on. Even without knowledge of the specific impacts of these factors on PSB, one can assume that each individual factor and their interactions with others will affect possibilities for creation of a PSB system in complex ways. Such complicated conditions need to be explored in full detail. How these factors and their interactions influence the introduction of a PSB system will be discussed in chapter 6. As this is a feasibility study for PSB, the dissertation mainly focuses on three major issues. The first one is the prerequisites for the establishment of PSB in a

developing country such as Cambodia. The second is the most feasible organizational structure for day-to-day operation of a PSB system in Cambodia. And the third is a policy for financial sustainability of a PSB system in Cambodia. A PSB system is being explored for Cambodia because: (1) the need for PSB system in a developing country such as Cambodia, which lacks impartial and unbiased news, is presumably high; and (2) broadcasting can play an important role in fostering a countrys development (Colle, 1973; Eltzroth, 2006; Eltzroth & Kenny, 2003; Melkote & Steeves, 2001) and can be a crucial factor in alleviating poverty (Eltzroth, 2006; Eltzroth & Kenny, 2003). Cambodia was chosen as a case study because: (1) Cambodia has been categorized as a least developed country (LDC) (United Nations, 2010), in which an independent means of communication is needed for socio-economic development. On this subject, Mr. Henrikas Youshkavitchu, adviser to Matsuura, UNESCO DirectorGeneral, emphasized that is the cheapest and most effective tool for supporting the PSB cultural and educational traditions and potential of a nation. At the same time PSB may serve as a very powerful instrument for the harmonious development and the strengthening of the democratic structures and institutes of states (Youshkavitchus, para 11, n.d.). And (2) it has never experienced politically and commercially independent media such as PSB in its history. This study may serve as a potential guideline for the creation of a broadcasting law, which is lacking in Cambodia at this time. In addition, the results of the study may be beneficial in deciding how to establish a PSB system, through which the Cambodian people could participate in political debates, be involved in decision making, policy making and policy implementation, and voice their opinions about social issues. This

research may also contribute to policy making as well as to media education, which is a recent development in Cambodia. In addition, it may serve as a model in other developing countries with similar socio-cultural, political and economic conditions to those in Cambodia. Problems and Research Questions In many developed countries, such as the United States, United Kingdom, Japan, and Canada, PSB systems have been implemented. However, future challenges facing current PSB organizations have been discussed by media scholars. The biggest challenges facing PSB organizations in developed countries are economic and, technological factors (Maherzi, 1997), and an identity crisis (Jakubowicz, 2003). In addition to these factors, socio-cultural compatibility and political circumstances are particularly crucial for the introduction of PSB systems into post-Communist (Jakubowicz, 2004) and developing countries. Cambodian broadcasting has been facing three immediate challenges: political influences, a shortage of financial resources (McDaniel, 2007), and the absence of broadcast laws. The absence of broadcast laws and the presence of financial problems are directly related to politics and the economy because politics determine the possibility of enacting broadcast laws and favorable economic conditions create the broadcast market, from which broadcasters generate their incomes. Based on previous studies, this study will first investigate the influence of macro factors: political circumstances (Banerjee & Senevirate, 2006; Brown, 1996b; Hallin & Mancini, 2004; Hrvatin, 2002; Jakubowicz, 2004; Kops, 2001; McChesney, 2008; McDaniel, 2002; Raboy, 1994; Raboy, 1998; Scannell, 2000; Stiles & Weeks, 2006;

Wells, 1996), economic conditions, (Jakubowicz, 2004; Kops, 2001, Lanara, 2002; Maherzi, 1997; McDaniel, 2002; Mediacult, 1995; Mendel, 2000; Picard, 2003; Price 1999; Sousa & Pinto, 2005; Stiles & Weeks, 2006; Teer-Tomaseli & Tomaselli,1994; Wells, 1996), civil society (Raboy, 1994), and socio-cultural compatibility (Jakubowicz, 2004; Raboy, 1998). These factors will be discussed in detail in Chapter 2. Thus, the first research question is: RQ1: Based on the current political circumstances, economic conditions, civil society situations, and socio-cultural factors in Cambodia, can a politically and financially independent PSB system be designed for that country? After the four macro factors have been investigated and if prospects for the establishment of a PBS system exist in Cambodia, the feasible organizational structures and financial schemes for PSB system will be explored. The way in which a PSB system is created and how it is governed and managed determine the independency of a PSB system. Eltzroth and Kenny (2003), Jayaweera and Mottaghi (2000), and UNESCO (2001) emphasize that a PSB system can be independent only if its governing board is independent. Thus, the second research question is: RQ2: If it is possible to create a PSB system, what approach transformation or new creation should be taken? And what organizational structure for a PSB system is necessary and feasible to keep it separate from political and commercial interference while still successfully fulfilling its mission? Institutional organizational structure, in this sense, refers to the organizational structure of the governing board as well as to day-to-day operational management.

Another important factor determining the independence of a PSB system is the way in which PSB is funded. Funding is crucial for a PSB organization (European Broadcasting Union, 2000); OHagan & Jennings, 2003); Witherspoon & Kovitz, 2000). In addition, in a working paper prepared for the Asia-Pacific Institute for Broadcasting Development (AIBD), Kops (2001) suggests that the behavior and output of PSB systems are driven by their revenue structure, not by their legal basis. In the funding of public service broadcasting, European Broadcasting Union (2000) points out that the choice of funding framework influences the operation of PSB organizations. PSB funding models vary from country to country. For instance, as will be discussed in a later chapter, while the BBC of the United Kingdom and NHK of Japan depend on license fees, SABC of South Africa is funded by commercials, license fees, and donations and Thai PBS is financed by sin taxes. Therefore the third research question is: RQ3: What sources of funding are available to support and sustain a PSB system to separate it from outside influences so it can be a neutral institution that serves the interests of the entire population? Furthermore, the issue that matters to most to the audience is program content. In order to be successful, a PSB system needs to be program driven (Raboy, 1998); and a diverse range of quality programs should be produced and made widely available to everyone in the society. PSB programs have to be free from interference by governments and corporations regardless of their source of funding (Varney, 2004). Thus, a program funding model needs to be developed. It is worthwhile developing a system in which the newly established PSBs programs are financed so that the program content is not

influenced by either corporations, politics, or even by individuals. The fourth research question is RQ4: How should PSB programs be produced and funded so that they are not under political and commercial influences? Country Profile Cambodia has been a laboratory for ideologies and a variety of political structures. It is a country that has experienced feudalism, absolute monarchy, colonialism, populism, republicanism, Maoist and Leninist socialism, and constitutional monarchy. Cambodias modern history has also been scarred by almost 30 years of civil war that not only hindered its development, but also caused the destruction of all sectors of its society, including the media. Geographically, Cambodia is located on a land area of 181,035 sq kilometers (slightly smaller than Oklahoma) on the Indochinese peninsula of Southeast Asia. Its population was estimated in July 2010 to be 14,494,293 (Central Intelligence Agency, 2010). It shares borders with Vietnam in the east and northeast, Laos in the north, Thailand in the west and northwest, and the gulf of Thailand in the southeast. Cambodia was under a French protectorate for almost a century from 1863 (Ghosh, 1960, p. 272)1 to 1953 (Chandler, 1972, p. 77). Cambodia gained its independence from France on November 9, 1953 (Chandler, 1972). After independence, Cambodia was one of the most developed countries in the region. It was considered a golden age in Cambodian history after the Angkorian period (12-14 centuries), when the Khmer Empire built the stunning architectural structures of

Manomohan Ghosh specified that the treaty of Protectorate was signed on August 11, 1863. However, the French power was not felt in Cambodia until 1877 for two major reasons: (1) A stiff resistance by Vietnamese and (2) Preoccupation of the French emperor Napoleon III with the Mexican War (1863-1867).

Angkor Wat, listed by UNESCOs world heritages sites as one of the worlds seven wonders. Following independence, Cambodia enjoyed relative peace and prosperity until March 18, 1970, when Prince Norodom Sihanouk, who was then the head of state, was ousted by a coup masterminded by Lon Nol, Sihanouks former Minister of Defense. The monarchy was then abolished and Cambodia became the Khmer Republic led by Lon Nol and supported by the U.S. Government. The Lon Nol government was overthrown by a guerrilla fanatical communist group, the Khmer Rouge, on April 17, 1975. Under the ultra Maoist Khmer Rouge, the name of the country was changed to D emocratic Kampuchea, and all people were forced to leave the cities and work in the countryside on large irrigation and agricultural projects. Because of the harsh conditions about two million of Cambodia's seven million population, including many of the educated, were killed or died of hunger and diseases. Some of them fled to refugee camps along the Cambodian-Thai border. Democratic Kampucheas policy was to introduce an absolute central-command economy by abolishing all private ownership. No one during this regime had the right to possess anything, even their own lives. Everything, including human lives, belonged to the state. Those who were accused of being enemies of the government (Angkar) were killed without any judicial process. All social structures were destroyed and religious buildings, such as Buddhist temples, were destroyed or used as prisons called security centers; all schools were also closed. Democratic Kampuchea was toppled by a Marxist-Leninist communist group, supported by Vietnam and the Soviet Union bloc, on January 7, 1979. The people who had been forced into the countryside during the Khmer Rouge regime moved back to

cities and life there gradually returned to relative normality, with private ownership reintroduced. However, a central-command economy was still practiced. A free market economy was reintroduced to Cambodia after the collapse of the Soviet Union and the withdrawal of the Vietnamese occupying forces that had established and supported the new government. A general election, overseen by the United Nations, took place in 1993, when a new constitutional monarchy was established with Prince Sihanouk as king. However, civil war between the newly elected government and the Khmer Rouge guerrillas continued until 1998. Cambodias Media Landscape Like other emerging democratic countries, Cambodias political pluralism is a relatively recent development and the notion of the media as soietys watchdog is not c well understood by the government or even by many media practitioners themselves. In general, ordinary people can make good decisions about their nation only if they are well informed and are able to share their thoughts with others, including their leaders. This can be done through the media. The ability of media practitioners to identify, comprehend, and explain events and issues helps societys members understand and respond to events and issues. The need, therefore, is for the media to be reliable and ethical in gathering and disseminating the information citizens require to understand their world. There was a time when the media in Cambodia were highly respected and trusted by the public. When I was young, my grandfather told me to study hard to become a journalist. He saw how Cambodian people honored journalists, who were considered highly professional and ethical by the majority of Cambodian people even though such

highly professional journalism actually has never existed in Cambodia. This was all before 1975, when Cambodia began a short, but harrowing, descent into hell. Print media. In ancient times, Cambodians inscribed documents, achievements, and regulations on stones and palm leaves. Print media were introduced to Cambodia by the French during their colonial rule. The press was in the French language to report official French activities and decisions. According to Jarvis, et. al. (2001), the three early Frenchlanguage journals in Cambodia included the Bulletin official du Cambodge, which was published in 1884, the Annuaire illustr du Cambodge, which was published in 1980, and Le petit Cambodgien, which was distributed from 1899 to 1900, and was the first private newspaper in Cambodia. Reachkech was the first official Khmer-language gazette, which continues to the present and is sometimes known as Rothakch; it commenced its activities in 1911. The first newspaper printed by typography was La Gazette Khmer, published from 1918-1919. Limpartial de Phnom-Penh, La Gazette de Phnom-Penh, and LEducateur Franaise were also seen in the following years (Jarvis et. al., 2001, p. 73). Other French-language newspapers include LEcho du Cambodge and LImpartial de Phnom Penh. The first periodical in Khmer language, Kambuja Surya (Cambodian Sun), appeared in 1926. The first Khmer-language newspaper, Nagaravatta, was circulated from 1936 to 1942 (Jarvis, et. al., 2001, p. 74; Lor, n.d.). The newspaper acted as a public mouthpiece for facilitating negotiations between the French rulers and Cambodian elites. In 1937, Nagaravattas circulation reached 5,000. It became an anti-French and proJapanese newspaper when the Japanese arrived in Cambodia in the early 1940s (Clarke, 2000, p. 245).

In the 1960s, Cambodia had 13 daily newspapers, two weekly newspapers and three monthly newspapers, one Sunday supplement, one daily mimeographed press summary and a daily journal with a combined circulation of about 70,000 (Lor, n.d.) Most of them were politically influenced. During the 1960s, all political parties were merged into one political party, Sangkum Reastr Niyum, formed by head of state Norodom Sihanouk, who exercised autocratic power. This move curbed freedom of expression. All Western journalists were banned in mid-1965, and by the late 1960s no foreign journalists were granted entry visas to Cambodia (Clarke, 2000, p. 246). Press freedom was reintroduced to Cambodia after Sihanouk was ousted on March 18, 1970. During the mid-1970s, 30 daily newspapers circulated (Lor, n.d.). The private print media were seen to play an important role as watchdog since they criticized the corruption and mismanagement of the new U.S.-supported government led by Lon Nol. In June 1972, a press law was passed that granted freedom of expression and criticism of the government, but limited publication of information that harmed the honor of individuals or national security or that undermined morality (Clarke, 2000). During the Khmer Rouge regime, there was a paucity of publications of all kinds, except for the Communist Partys dogma, and the media came under state control. Official monthly state publications, including Yuvachun ning Yuveakneary Padevat (Boys and Girls of the Revolution) and Tung Pakdevoat (National Flag), were circulated from January 1974 to November 1978 and from January 1975 to September 1978 respectively (Jarvis, et. al., 2001, p. 74). Many journalists were killed or died of hunger and diseases during this period.


During the regime of the Peoples Republic of Kampuchea (1979-1987), a number of mouthpieces of the Central Committee of the Peoples Revolutionary Party, now known as Cambodian Peoples Party (CPP), were established. Those publications included the weekly Kampuchea newspaper, established in January 1979; the military journal Kangtoap Padevoath (Revolutionary Army), established in 1979; the municipalitys newspaper, Phnom Penh, established in 1981; and a party newspaper Pracheachun (The People), which appeared in 1985 (Jarvis, et. al. 2001, p. 74). According to the Ministry of Information (2008), there were 327 newspapers, 129 magazines, 36 bulletins, 27 foreign newspapers in Cambodia in 2008 (p. 6). According to information acquired during this projects fieldwork, most of these print media outlets excepting a few foreign language newspapershave been directly and indirectly funded by political parties. Some representatives of print media I interviewed said their newspapers made profits from advertising, but acknowledged that their employees were underpaid (approximately from $50 to $150 dollars monthly) and facilities were underdeveloped. Due to the poor pay, they said that the quality of Cambodias print media content was below an acceptable professional standard. Broadcast media. According to Clarke (2000), under French colonial rule, the first Cambodian radio station, called Radio Cambodge (Cambodia Radio) was established in 1946 using leftover Japanese equipment, replaced by a new and more powerful American transmitter in 1951. The total number of radio sets in Cambodia in 1951 was about 3,500, increasing to about 7,000 by 1958 (Clarke, 2000, p. 249). In 1955, under the Ministry of Information, four AM radio stations came into existence, two with 1 KW transmitters and


the other two with 10 KW transmitters. By 1958, only one national radio with a 10 KW transmitter survived, and its transmitter was replaced by a 20 KW transmitter donated by China in 1959 (Clarke, 2000, p. 249). The government TV station (TVRK) was completed in 1965 and began programming on February 2, 1966. At that time, there were only about 300 TV sets, but the number increased to 25,000-30,000 in 1974 (Lichty, & Hoffer, 1978, p. 119). During the Khmer Rouge regime (1975-1978), TV broadcasting stopped. This was due to Khmer Rouges policy of confiscating all private belongings. During this period, people had no right to possess anything, including TV sets, and if people had them, they were taken away. However, the Khmer Rouge government used the AM state radio station left by the former government to broadcast its policies and activities for six hours per day (Clarke, 2000, p. 250). The radio station was basically a government propaganda machine. Although only high-ranking officials had the right to carry radio sets, ordinary people who were forced to work in the fields could hear the radio via loudspeakers, which were installed in some work sites. After the Khmer Rouge regime was toppled in 1979, the new government of the Peoples Republic of Kampuchea, which was supported by the Soviet bloc, established a national AM radio station called Voice of the Kampuchean People. According to Sem Huot, a former public official who worked for the Phnom Penh municipalitys Office of Information, the municipality as well as provincial Offices of Information put up a number of loudspeakers along main roads in the provincial towns because of the limited number of radio receivers (personal communication, June 11, 2008). He said loudspeakers enabled those who did not have radio sets to access news and entertainment


programs broadcast on national radio. The local broadcasts on loudspeakers usually were aired for a few hours in the morning, at noon, and in the evening. The local news was broadcast usually about an hour before national programs were relayed. The loudspeaker era ended after UNTAC arrived in Cambodia in 1992, when short-wave and FM radio was introduced and thousands of free radio sets were distributed throughout the country. TVK did not commence its transmission until December 1984, when it began broadcasting, using a black and white transmitter. In July 1986, color transmission began to be broadcast for two hours every evening and four days a week in the Phnom Penh area only. At that time, Cambodia had about 200,000 radio receivers and 4,000 TV sets (Clarke, 2000, p. 250). Between 1975 and 1986, all entertainment produced by former regimes and Voice of America radio, which broadcast in Khmer language from Washington D.C. and relayed from Bangkok, were banned. The Khmer Rouge guerrilla groups radio broadcast twice a day on a shortwave frequency from the Cambodian-Thai border until 1997, when it was captured by the newly elected governments armed forces. Radio Free Asia, which is funded by the U.S. government, started broadcasting in Khmer language live from Washington D.C. in 1997 (Clarke, 2000, p. 250). The growth of Cambodian broadcasting 1992-present. A major turning point for Cambodia and its media sector came in 1992, when UNTAC arrived to help prepare the first democratic election in Cambodia. A multi-party political system was introduced in Cambodia. As a result, 21 political parties participated in the general election (Sek, 2000, p. 221). With the introduction of democracy, freedom of expression and the press were encouraged. UNTAC enacted a number of laws, including media guidelines, which aimed


to facilitate the establishment of media outlets in Cambodia. It was commonly believed that in order to promote public awareness of the importance of citizen participation in the election process, as many media outlets as possible should be established. Therefore, the guidelines not only guaranteed freedom of expression, but also encouraged the government to issue as many licenses as possible to commercial media applicants. The government granted licenses to applicants even though clear standards for frequency allocation and criteria for granting licenses were not in place. Article 13 of UNTACs media guidelines stated existing administrative structures should facilitate the profusion of publications and broadcast stations by, for example, the processing without undue delay of any necessary applications for registration or assignment of broadcast frequencies. If an application has not received an answer within one month, UNTAC encourages the automatic approval of that application (UNTAC, 1991, p. 2). Political parties then took this opportunity to establish their own media outlets to act as propaganda machines for the upcoming election campaign. They paid a great deal of attention to broadcast media because, according to a survey conducted by the Womens Media Center, TV and radio were the first and second most important sources of information respectively, while newspapers were third (Womens Media Center, 1998). However, Marston (2000) found that radio was the single most important medium in Cambodia to truly reach all parts of Cambodia and all segments of the population, regardless of level of education. This was due to the fact that more radio receivers were available than TV sets. According to the Ministry of Planning (1999), in 1997 about 20


percent of all households possessed TV sets while 41 percent of total households had a radio. In addition, radio had the widest coverage of all media. Radio sets were also cheaper than TV sets. Another advantage enjoyed by radio was that it operated with batteries, and electricity was not available in most parts of the countryside. Consequently, almost all broadcasters were owned by or aligned with political parties. For instance, FM 88 aligned with the former Buddhist Liberal Party; FM 90 was owned by the FUNCINPEC party; FM 95 and Bayon TV belonged to the Cambodian Peoples Party (CPP); FM 96, AM 540, AM 740 and TVK, the national radio and TV, served the interests of the CPP; FM 97 and Apsara TV were owned by the CPP; FM 98 and TV5 were jointly owned by a Thai company and the Ministry of Defense; FM 99 aligned with the CPP; FM 103 and TV3 were jointly owned by a Thai company and the Phnom Penh Municipality; FM 105 (Beehive) belonged to the President of Beehive Social Democratic Party, which acted as one of the opposition parties; FM 107 and TV9 aligned with the FUNCIPEC party; and FM 102 was owned by a nonprofit organization called the Women's Media Center (WMC), and was then the only station considered independent of political influence. It is clear that the broadcast media were dominated by the CPP, which had been in power since 1979. The six major TV stations were directly and indirectly influenced by the CPP (Edman, 2000, p. 17). Radio On November 9, 1992, UNTAC established its own radio station called UNTAC on MW 918 KHz (Puy, 2007, p. 15) to promote voters awareness of freedom of expression, democracy, and the importance of their rights for the 1993 general election. Kek Chhiv Pung, director of Cambodian League for the Promotion and Defense


of Human Rights (LICADHO), said thousands of free radio sets were distributed to Cambodians across the country (personal communication, May 13, 2008). In May 1993, the first commercial television station IBC (International Broadcasting Corporation), which is now known as Royal Khmer Armed Forces TV5, commenced its operation (S. Huot, personal communication, June 11, 2008). Huot said it was jointly owned by a Thai company and the Ministry of National Defense. This station was very popular until early 2003, when a violent anti-Thai riot took place. On January 29, 2003, angry rioters burned the Thai Embassy and major Thai businesses in Cambodia. That unfortunate incident happened because of disinformation spread by local media that a popular Thai soap opera star said that she would accept an invitation to perform in Cambodia only if Cambodia returned Angkor Wat to Thailand; she further reportedly said that if she were reincarnated, she would rather be a dog than a Cambodian. The actress insisted that the rumor was false. However, this rumor was spread by local media. Since then, Thai TV programs were no longer broadcast in Cambodia. The second privately-owned TV station was TV9, which was allied with the political party FUNCIPEC. Although this station was one of the first private TV stations, it was not popular due to the low quality of its programs and transmission. The third TV station that came into existence was Municipal Television TV3, which was jointly owned by the Phnom Penh municipality and a Thai company. Kea Puy, Kyodo News correspondent, said this station became the second most popular station in Cambodia because of the quality of its entertainment programs and transmission (personal communication, June 10, 2008). He said TV3 program formats were very similar to those of TV5 as they were both jointly owned by Thai companies. Therefore, most


entertainment programs were either imported from Thailand or locally produced but modeled on Thai TV programs. However, both TV stations were criticized for promoting Thai cultural imperialism. In response to these criticisms, local programmers tried to Cambodianize the imported Thai TV programs by dubbing the programs into Khmer. Songs were sung in Khmer and all TV announcers had to dress in Cambodian-style clothing. Two CPP-owned TV stations were APSARA TV and Bayon TV. These TV stations program formats were more conservative and traditional. These TV stations were not very popular because they were very political. However, Bayon TV has the largest coverage geographically in Cambodia (InterMedia, 2010). According to K. Puy, Kyodo News correspondent, each of these stations was linked with a radio station and both were purely propaganda machines for the CPP because they were owned outright by the party (personal communication, June 10, 2008). Cambodian Television Network (CTN), the first Cambodian privately-owned TV station, was launched in 2003. Since its introduction, CTN gained popularity and became the most watched channel across the country. According to a survey conducted by InterMedia in 2010 among 2,000 Cambodian adults, 61.8 percent had watched CTN in the previous 12 months, the highest percentage achieved by any TV station in Cambodia (InterMedia, 2011, p. 70). This is because it produces its programs locally at high quality; its coverage was as wide as the national television TVK, and it could be accessed not only in Cambodia but also in other countries, such as U.S.A. and Australia via satellite. It is apparent that there were three different types of broadcast media operating in Cambodia. These are political party, state, and commercial stations. PSB has not yet been


established in Cambodia. It is worth noting that state broadcasters, such as the national television TVK and NRK FM96, which were supposed to be purely funded by the government, accepted advertising; their major sources of revenues came from commercials. Thus a hybrid (state-commercial) model of broadcasting was adopted by Cambodian state broadcasting. In addition, some broadcast media which received their funding from political parties also sought additional funding from commercials. Thus, regardless of broadcasting type, all broadcasters were involved in competition in a free market economy. No matter what, free and fair competition of broadcasting benefited the Cambodian people as a whole, because, according to Napoli (2001), within the electronic media context, competition provides a greater variety of choices, lower prices, increased efficiency, enhanced quality, and innovation. Kek Chiv Pung, a president of a human rights organization LICADHO said with numerous media outlets and a certain degree of press freedom, the press began to reveal scandals in the former government and identify corrupt individuals. In the past, corrupt government officials had not been afraid of anyone, not even the courts, which were perceived to be corrupt as well. However, this time around, corrupt officials became fearful of the media (personal communication, May 13, 2008). Fear of their wrongdoings being exposed by the media, however, resulted not in reforms by politicians, but in attempts to corrupt journalists. Some political parties went to the extent of trying to set up media companies of their own. Soon, articles and programs were being written, published, and broadcast largely because money was being exchanged between media practitioners and politicians. Most of the local news being published and broadcast became blatantly politicized, with no serious effort to present


information in an unbiased and impartial way (K. C. Pung, personal communication, May 13, 2008). She said at the same time, the increasing competition between media companies led to frequent exchanges of insults. However, there was a significant growth of broadcasting in Cambodia during and in the post-UNTAC. This growth was due the fact that (1) a multi-party political system was introduced, which encouraged freedom of expression and the press; and (2) a free-market economy was introduced to Cambodia, which opened access by any interested company to Cambodias broadcasting market. Challenges facing Cambodian broadcasters. Although Cambodian broadcasting was growing remarkably in the transitional period, Khieu Kanharith, the Minister of Information, said Cambodian broadcasting has not yet reached a satisfactory standard due to a lack of professionalism, administration mismanagement, and financial problems (personal communication, May 3, 2008). Professionalism. Professionalism, which plays a crucial role in leading an enterprise to its success, is badly needed by Cambodian broadcasters. Gershon (2000) said good broadcast managers should have knowledge in media or media-related fields and give their staff proper training to do their jobs effectively. In the case of Cambodia, very few people working in media, especially broadcast managers, have a degree in media or a mediarelated specialization, although some have completed short training courses. Cambodian broadcasters have made clear their desire for greater opportunities to engage in advanced professional and academic studies. Many of them wish to become recognized experts in the fields in which they work. Up to now these people have learned by doing and observation. Although they are able to operate broadcasting stations, the quality of


broadcast programs does not yet meet satisfactory standards (K. Khieu, personal communication, May 3, 2008). In addition, Kong Sothanarith, VOA reporter and Tieng Sopheak Vichea, acting director of RUPPs Media and Communication Department, echoed Khieus views. The blatant bias exhibited by media may have been caused by the lack of media education and critical thinking. The lack of education, professional training or creative thinking leads broadcasters to work unprofessionally and slows the development of broadcast professionalism. These obstacles to development may be due to the fact that broadcasters are unable to keep themselves informed about what is going on in the outside world and unable to adapt to the changes in the external environment. Keeping updated on changes in the external environment is important for all media practitioners (Napoli, 2003). As for professionalism, radio newscasts were nothing but the reading of stories about robberies, murder, and traffic accidents, etc. from a number of local newspapers. Um Sarin, the President of the Cambodian Association for the Protection of Journalists (CAPJ), noted that of reporters dont go into the field. Sometimes they make a phone ten call, but other times they just dream [stories] up (cited in Bainbridge, 2001). This clearly indicates inadequate training or no training at all. Most journalists come straight from high school without going through journalism training, and some have not even finished high school. During this period, corruption within the journalism profession was also apparent. I personally recall unethical behaviors displayed by a group of Cambodian journalists. On January 14, 2002 at the opening ceremony of the Royal University of Phnom Penh (RUPP)s Department of Media and Communication (DMC), which I chaired, I was given a list of journalists who asked for money in exchange for reporting


stories about the ceremony. I refused to give any money to them, and they warned that if they did not receive any money, they would not write the stories. At the ceremony, Hun Sen, Cambodian Prime Minister, also acknowledged that some local journalists worked like kidnappers by demanding money from government officials or they would blackmail them. However, high-ranking government officials often invited journalists to go with them on visits to the provinces, and gave these journalists money in exchange for favorable stories about their activities. After this, it became commonplace that journalists expected compensation for their stories. Khieu Kola of the Club of Cambodian Journalists (CCJ) accused the government of involvement in the corruption of journalists (cited in Bainbridge, 2001). Reach Sambath, a professional journalist who graduated from Columbia Universitys Journalism School and was an instructor at the DMC and Chief of Public Affairs of Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC), said that from 1993-1995, Cambodian journalists were like birds freed for the first time, flying in the dark, knocking into trees and walls (personal communication, July 15, 2005) However, the journalism profession has changed gradually because many journalists have attended training offered by international nonprofit organizations. The organizations involved in training journalists include the Asia Foundation of the United States, which began media training programs in 1995; IMPACS of Canada started a media training project in November 1999. Training has also been offered by GRET of France; Agence intergouvernementale de la francophonie; American Assistance to Cambodia; Australian AIDP; Danida in Bangkok; Diakonia; Forum Syd; Freedom Forum; The French Embassy; German Ewangelisch Zentralstalle fur Entwicklungshilfe;


Japan Relief for Cambodia; Netherlands Embassy in Hanoi; NOVIB; UNESCO; UNICEF; the University Agency for French-speaking communities; the U.S. Embassy; and the British Embassy. The Konrad Adenauer Foundation (KAF) helped the RUPP to establish the DMC to offer a first four-year degree program in media management, which started in 2001. The media education program is still operating with major financial support from KAF and UNESCO. On its web page, the DMC (2008) wrote students are taught a broad range of media-related academic disciplines to gain a solid understanding and a variety of perspectives on media environments. The course prepares students to be the standard bearers of the media profession. The DMC aims to assist in the development of high-quality independent journalism and media management. During their training, students learn skills that will help them become effective, creative and ethical practitioners and managers of the mass media, fostering a free, viable and socially responsible media in Cambodia. They learn to identify, understand and explain political, social and economic events and issues and to share this information with Cambodian citizens, allowing the public to understand and respond to their world. According to Vichea S. Tieng, acting director of the DMC, DMCs graduates have worked as media practitioners at many local and international media agencies or as researchers and media officials within government agencies and local and international NGOs (personal communication, July 3, 2007). He said that with the high demand for manpower in the field of media, many of DMCs graduates were given scholarships to pursue further education abroad and to come back to contribute to development of the media profession in Cambodia.


In addition, Tieng said some of DMCs graduates have been working with various media organizations, such as BBC World Service Trust, to produce programs for broadcast by Cambodian broadcasting outlets. During my preliminary study, I found that BBC World Service Trust, an independent, international charity set up by the BBC, has mass media projects funded by the British Government's Department for International Development (DFID). The BBC World Service Trust uses media to advance development and works with the Cambodian government and Cambodian broadcasters to create high quality programming produced by international and Cambodian media professionals, some of whom graduated from DMC. Because of the gradual development of media professionalism, broadcast programming is obviously better than in the past, which is something, pro-government individuals argued Cambodia should be proud of. For instance, Kem Gunawadh, Director General of TVK said TVK has been working with UNDP to produce Equity Weekly, an on-going current affairs TV show, broadcast every Sunday since May 2007 (personal communication July 18, 2007). He said TVK aired more than 100 shows on a variety of topics, including politics, economy, culture, society, environment and healthcare. Gunnawadh said such shows were good models for other broadcasters to follow, and they showed that Cambodian broadcast programming had been improved. Administration and management. Based on my experience as a media professional working in Cambodia, inadequate qualified staff has led to management deficiencies in Cambodian broadcasting stations. Often the duties of personnel are not clearly delegated. Some have too many things to do whereas others have too few. Overlapping responsibilities hinder good


program production as well other operations. At the same time, some unskilled and unproductive staff members have been employed although they do not contribute as much as expected to broadcast stations. I have also observed that an authoritarian leadership style is still practiced in the Cambodian broadcasting industry. Cambodia was ruled by socialist regimes for decades, and its broadcasters were under strict government control. This centralization and bureaucratic red-tape still exists in almost all broadcast stations. This is due to the fact that a majority of TV directors and managers were former media practitioners in the socialist regimes, and are comfortable with the socialist system. As the result of this leadership style, Cambodian broadcasters have been uncreative. Creativity not only can sustain the existing media, but enable the existing media to become more profitable and expand their audience (Covington, 1999). According to Kong Sothanarith, VOA Khmer correspondent, since Cambodian broadcasters are predominantly uncreative, some broadcast programs do not meet public satisfaction; the quality of broadcasting programs is relatively low, and program content has been adopted from those of other countries, which often does not work in Cambodian society (personal communication, June 11, 2008). Finance. Shortage of funding has hindered the development of every Cambodian broadcasting station. Because of a shortage of money, broadcast stations have been unable to employ skilled professionals and buy up-to-date equipment, including transmitters. As a result, the stations produce poor quality programs, which neither attract audience nor advertisers, the sources of financing for all broadcasting stations. For


instance, most Cambodian radio stations broadcast news published in daily newspapers instead of producing it themselves. Moreover, low paid media practitioners have accepted bribes to broadcast specific content. In addition, advanced equipment such as transmitters and other digital facilities are badly needed to catch up with the current state of information technology. Most Cambodian broadcasters are still using analog equipment and facilities, which leads to the low quality images shown on viewers screens. Summary As mentioned earlier, the main objective of this research is to explore the prerequisites for the establishment of PSB in Cambodia. Since it is a feasibility study, I, in addition to accessible documents, sought opinions from many people, such as policymakers, decision makers, government officials, a Royal Palace representative, executives, representatives of international NGOs, donor countries, local NGOs, civil society groups, media professionals, representatives of broadcasters, media academics, executives and news editors of foreign PSBs, ordinary citizens, and other stakeholders about the conditions for the potential establishment of PSB in Cambodia, approaches to the establishment, and funding. The methods of collecting data and findings of the research will be presented and discussed in chapters 3, 4 and 5 respectively.


Chapter 2: Review of Literature Introduction The concept of Public Service Broadcasting (PSB) is now more than 80 years old (Coppens & Saeys, 2006, p. 261), and it has been an issue for debate among media, scholars and social activists for the last few decades. The major concern is the uncertain future of PSB. Scholars have expressed their concerns in research papers, reports, conference papers, books, and other publications. Most previous studies on PSB systems have focused on Western European PSB systems; in particular, the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) has often been seen as a model for PSB systems around the globe. According to Brown (1996b), PSB systems have two distinct models in terms of management, production, and program transmission. A decentralized model is followed in the United States and a highly centralized model is used in the United Kingdom, Australia, and Canada. In the United States, local stations are the main public broadcasting entities while in the United Kingdom, Australia, and Canada, networks are the main public broadcasters. United States stations have strong links to their communities, and programs produced by local stations are diverse in nature. In the United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia, a range of programs are broadcast by separate networks; the United Kingdom has 5 radio and 2 television networks, Australia has 6 radio and 2 television networks, and Canada has 6 radio and 3 television networks (Brown, 1996b, p. 79). Kops (2001) emphasized that existing PSB systems around the world have considerably different missions, financial resources, and legal competencies. In order to study PSB systems, it is important to look beyond the BBC and PSB in Western Europe,


and focus on the particular media environment within which PSB systems operate or are going to operate. In addition, since the emergence of the BBC in the early 1920s (Scanell, 2000), both the BBC and PSB systems throughout the world have evolved significantly; they have been influenced by the development of technology (McClauley, 2003; McDaniel, 2002; Price, 1999; Schejter, 2003), political circumstances (Banerjee & Senevirate, 2006; Brown, 1996b; Hallin & Mancini, 2004; Hrvatin, 2002; Jakubowicz, 2004; Kops, 2001; McChesney, 2008; McDaniel, 2002; Raboy, 1994; Raboy, 1998; Scannell, 2000; Stiles & Weeks, 2006; Wells, 1996), economic conditions (Jakubowicz, 2004; Kops, 2001, Lanara, 2002; Maherzi, 1997; McDaniel, 2002; Mediacult, 1995; Mendel, 2000; Picard, 2003; Price 1999; Sousa & Pinto, 2005; Stiles & Weeks, 2006; Teer-Tomaselli & Tomaselli, 1994; Wells, 1996), socio-cultural context (Jakubowicz, 2004; Raboy, 1998) and civil society (Raboy, 1994). There are many factors influencing the operations of PSB. This chapter will address only significant macro factors, namely political circumstances, economic conditions, civil society organizations, and socio-cultural compatibility, which previous studies suggest have been the main influences on existing PSB and on determining whether the establishment of a PSB system is possible in a particular society. These four main factors were used as a framework for conducting the data collection for this study and will be re-addressed in chapter IV and V, presenting fieldwork findings. Political Circumstances In The political economy of media: Enduring issues, emerging dilemmas, McChesney (2008) argued that political economists studying the media believe that a media system is usually established based upon policies made on behalf of the public,


often without the publics informed consent; thus, how societies function can be understood through media systems because the media systems reflect the nature of societies within which they operate. Likewise, PSB systems, in particular, are believed to be influenced by a countrys political circumstances (Banerjee & Senevirate, 2006; Brown, 1996 a, 1996b; Hallin & Mancini, 2004; Hrvatin, 2002; Jakubowicz, 2004; Kops, 2001; McChesney, 2008; McDaniel, 2002; Raboy, 1994; Raboy, 1998; Scannell, 2000; Stiles & Weeks, 2006; Wells, 1996). Brown (1996a) said it is a government's responsibility to determine the broadcasting structure of a country. He emphasized that the regulatory role of governments has a tremendous impact on the broadcasting systems of a country. According to Brown (1996a), those impacts include decisions on, to mention only a few, introduction of broadcasting technologies, broadcasting the systems, financing methods, the number of broadcasters in a country or in a certain market, and regulations of program content (p. 3). If government has an impact on the broadcasting systems in general, it must influence PSB systems as well. In this sense, political will and government intention are crucial for the establishment of PSB systems. For instance, when the BBC began broadcasting, the British government defined broadcasting as a public utility and established its mandate as serving the public interest because the British government then believed that it would help to create an enlightened and informed citizenry (Scannell, 2000). John Reith, the first Director General of the BBC, conceptualized public service as a core element of broadcastings role in creating an informed public and encouraging reasoned debate as pillars of a democratic society. Similarly, Banerjee and Seneviratne (2006) suggested that the commitment and the capacity of governments are crucial to the success of PSB. The establishment of PSB


is sometimes done through the transformation of existing state broadcasting outlets and sometimes through the creation a new entity. They point out that transformation of state broadcasting into PSB is facilitated by the use of existing resources, such as territorial reach, committed public funding, and experienced staff members, which helps make newly transformed public service broadcasters into effective broadcasting institutions. It is questionable whether this argument is applicable in all circumstances; Jakubowicz (2004) forcefully argued that the introduction of PSB through transformation of state broadcasting in post-Communist countries is usually a complete failure. Newly transformed public service broadcasters often fail to accomplish their missions and end up serving political interests rather than the public good. Although the names have been changed, their management and working culture remain, and there are other challenges, such as overstaffing, poor programming, and lack of financial resources. Whatever method is used to establish PSB, either through transformation of an existing state system or the creation of a new institution, it is the government that determines this. Banerjee and Senevirate (2006) and UNDP (2004) discovered that governments or ruling parties rarely want to give up their control over media institutions, from which they gain political benefits. This is especially true in developing countries, where democracy has not yet become fully rooted (Stiles & Weeks, 2006). A research article, Eltzroth (2006) asserted that governments dominate radio broadcasting in 75 percent of the world (p. 20). The results of an evaluation of PSB conducted by Stiles and Weeks (2006) and supported by UNESCO, suggest that political will significantly contributes to the establishment of PSB systems. UNESCO recognizes that a major challenge for the


creation of a PSB system is a lack of political will on the part of many governments. The opportunities for PSB exist only when governments recognize the importance of such systems, through which democratic processes can be strengthened, human rights can be actualized, and people can be better educated, informed, and entertained. Therefore, a key factor in the establishment of PSB is strong political will and commitment on the part of governments. Kops (2001) said freedom of mass media is often threatened by governments, and constitutional law plays a crucial role in keeping PSB systems from political interference. Many governments have a strong interest in controlling PSB systems. Thus, the political independence of PSB systems must be protected, and this can be done through the rule of law (Kops, 2001). For instance, in some countries, such as Germany, broadcasting laws forbid the government from interfering with public service broadcasters. However, it is questionable whether PSB systems in developing and post-Communist countries can be independent of political influences because governments in such countries rarely give up control of the media, including PSB systems. The PSB systems normally operate successfully in the developed world, where political and economic conditions are stable, a prerequisite for proper operation of PSB systems. In the case of post-Communist countries, including Cambodia, political factors are of particular importance for the establishment of PSB systems (Jakubowicz, 2004). Jakubowicz stressed that in the low-income world, public service broadcasters face difficulties because the political and socio-cultural prerequisites for their operation do not exist. He said the introduction of PSB systems in post-Communist countries is as difficult as the introduction of democracy. The introduction of PSB systems has often failed


because PSB organizations face a lack of social embeddedness and the right democratic context (Jakubowicz, 2004, p. 53). In order for PSB systems to flourish, the legal and institutional frameworks of PSB must be transplanted and this must be followed by development of a political and journalistic culture. This is always challenging because, according to Jakubowics (2004), new ruling elites in post-Communist countries must accept full liberalization of the media and establish a balanced dual system of broadcasting. However, they often cling to the command system from which the country is emerging. In the end, media practitioners, instead of exercising their impartial and critical watchdog role, are more likely to be cooperative with the authorities in order to keep their jobs. Thechai Yong, executive director of Thai PBS, said the recent political crisis in Thailand is a perfect example of the effect of political circumstances on possibilities for the establishment of PSB. The PSB concept has been discussed by Thai academic circles, social activists, and media reform advocates for decades, but it could not be put in place because of the absence of a favorable political environment (personal Communication, May 28, 2008). McChesney (2007) suggested three conditions for media structural reform. He said the critical juncture in media will occur when two or three of the following conditions occur:

There is a revolutionary new communications technology that undermines the existing system;

The content of the media system, especially journalism, is increasingly discredited or seen as illegitimate; and


There is a major political crisis with severe social disequilibrium in which the existing order can no longer work, and there are major movements for social reform (p. 10). In case of Thailand, the last two conditions apply. Thaksin Shinawatra was able to

control both state and private media until 2005, the beginning of his second term, when his strategy of silencing opposition broke down and the military staged a coup detat on September 19, 2006, when the prime minister was about to deliver a speech at the UN General Assembly (Siriyuvasak, 2008). The coup detat led to the dissolution of parliament and abolition of the existing national constitution. A new constitution was enacted in 2007 which included the Public Broadcasting Act of 2008, leading to the transformation of Thaksins iTV into the Thai Public Broadcasting Service (Thai PBS) on January 14, 2008 (Nitsmer, 2009). Without political crisis it is doubtful that the Thai PBS could ever be established. This demonstrates that political circumstances contribute to the creation of PSB. Economic Conditions The change of media system in a country often accompanies a change in the national economic system (McChesney, 2008). Thus, in addition to the influence of political circumstances, PSB systems are affected by economic conditions (Jakubowicz, 2004; Kops, 2001, Lanara, 2002; Maherzi, 1997; McChesney, 2008; McDaniel, 2002; Mediacult, 1995; Mendel, 2000; Picard, 2003; Price 1999; Sousa & Pinto, 2005; Stiles & Weeks, 2006; Teer-Tomaselli & Tomaselli,1994; Wells, 1996). Funding is among the most crucial challenges for PSB systems (Lanara, 2002). The PSB funding issue has been a subject of debate since the global economy came into existence (Lanara, 2002).


Therefore, economic factors are taken into consideration by policymakers when considering how to set up PSB systems. Many experts argue that GDP is a determining factor in the establishment of PSB. Based on usual financial structure of PSB systems, Eric. Johnson, Director of Internews International, in an email communication, said in my experience, public broadcasting can't exist in a country with a per capita GDP of less than perhaps USD3,000 (Cambodia is at about USD500). The government will always be too tempted to meddle in the broadcaster's politics (personal communication, April 3, 2007). However, he said he would love to be proven wrong! His argument was based on the fact that traditional PSBs are financed primarily through license fees paid by citizens, along with state subsidies. In the case of license fees, people are not able to pay if they are economically disadvantaged. In addition, people with low incomes are unable to spend money on consumer goods. This has an effect on markets, which are the source of dollars, and this affects PSB income directly or indirectly because in some countries, private broadcasters are obliged to pay for PSB as a part of their social responsibility. Less spending by people also affects the national economy, which is the source of government subsidies for the operation and programming of PSB. Teer-Tomaselli and Tomaselli (1994) said that because fiscal constraints have affected PSB systems, depending on license fees alone is no longer possible. Because of this, government subsidies and commercial advertising are required in some countries. South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) is a good example of the model in which the PSB system is allowed to accept advertising. As a result, two thirds of SABCs income is derived from commercials and one third from license fees (Teer-Tomaselli & Tomaselli, 1994, p. 6).


In Western Europe, scholars began voicing their concerns and debating the future of PSB systems decades ago, when private broadcasting systems and globalization came into play. According to Mediacult (1995), PSB systems have been affected by the size of domestic markets and competition. Fifteen smaller countries with weaker broadcasting cultures have been dominated by the programs produced in five larger countries (France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, and Spain) with stronger broadcast industries (Mediacult, 1995, p. 7). This trans-border communication places public service broadcasters in a competitive environment, which compels them to decide whether to accept the terms of competition. If public service broadcasters accept these terms, they might be unable to fulfill their mission, which is a requirement for receiving license fees and government funding. If they do not accept the terms of competition, they will dwindle into minority channels, which eventually lose their audience, and the government and the people will not pay for unpopular dying stations (Mediacult, 1995). As a result, PSB systems in some countries have been redefined as they adopted strategies to operate in competitive environment. Some have decided to maintain the status quo, some have decided to compete in the field of light entertainment, and some have decided to adopt selfcommercialization of one channel, with other channels acting in a traditional role (Achille & Miege, 1994). The introduction of a free market weakens the monopoly of PSB systems (Maherzi, 1997). He argued that in developing countries a weak national economy encourages a monopoly by media conglomerates, which cripples PSB systems. Globalization and the growth of broadcasting corporations erode the audience of public service broadcasters; media corporations widen their interests across the broadcast system


(Jakubowicz, 2003; Maherzi, 1997). With multiple delivery means, media conglomerates are able to act as gatekeepers and to control complete media chains, excluding PSB systems from the chain (Jakubowicz, 2003). Jakubowicz emphasized the important effect of economic conditions on the introduction of PSB in Eastern European post-Communist countries. He said PSB introduction in these countries can be described as a massive policy failure due in part to the fact that economic and financial aspects of media operation and the impact of market forces on media were disregarded. Sousa and Pinto (2005) also pointed out that the traditional roles of public service broadcasters all over Europe have been affected by fierce competition, privatization, and market deregulation in the last two decades. They cited the case of Portuguese PSB, Radiotelevisao Portuguesa (now renamed to Radio e Televisao de Portugal RTP) as an example of redefining PSB systems because of financial constraints. Under the new center-right government of Portugal, and with the recommendation of a working group led by Helena Vaz da Silva, Portugals two national generalist public service channels RTP1 and RTP2-- were reduced to one. While RTP1 remained as a generalist channel, RTP2 was transformed into the so-called Society Channel outside the RTPs scope. In Russia, according to Vartanova and Zassoursky (2003), the introduction of PSB systems failed primarily because of unfavorable economic conditions. Even government-controlled or government-owned broadcasting, such as Public Russian Television (ORT or Obshestvennoye Rossiskoye Televideniye) and the Russian Broadcasting Company (RTR) received insufficient funding from the government. License fees cannot be used in Russia due to the fact that living standards are relatively low (Vartanova and Zassoursky, 2003).


McDaniel (2002) uses Southeast Asia as an example to explain economic impacts on PSB systems. He said PSB systems in some countries in Southeast Asia are shaped by privatization. In the case of Indonesia, the intense competition by six private broadcasters places pressure on Indonesian public broadcaster TVRI (McDaniel, 2002). With a weak economic environment, private broadcasters are unable to generate the incomes to adequately support the operation of TVRI. In addition, there are a variety of funding methods for PSB systems: license fees, advertising, underwriting, public voluntary contributions, government subsidies, and a small sin tax, as in the case of Thailand. These funding methods are directly related to national economic conditions. Most people in developing countries are not able to pay because they are economically disadvantaged. For instance, Sumita Tobing, former Director of TVRI, stressed that TVRI cannot survive with funds raised from audience members because 70 percent of TVRIs audience members are poor (Cited in McDaniel 2002). The same thing can be said about public contributions and government subsidies, which are widely used in the United States. If the public is economically disadvantaged, they cannot voluntarily contribute to PSB operations; it is commonly known that governments in developing countries rely heavily on foreign assistance because they cannot subsidize PSB operational costs. Aware of the financial constrains in many countries and considering economic condition in Thailand, Thai policymakers decided to use 1.5 percent of sin taxes from tobacco and alcohol as sources of funding for Thai PBS (T. Yong, Personal Communication, May 28, 2008). It is clear that economic condition have a great impact on the establishment of PSB systems.


Civil Society According to London School of Economics (Retrieved 2009): Civil society refers to the arena of uncoerced collective action around shared interests, purposes and values. In theory, its institutional forms are distinct from those of the state, family and market, though in practice, the boundaries between state, civil society, family and market are often complex, blurred and negotiated. Civil society commonly embraces a diversity of spaces, actors and institutional forms, varying in their degree of formality, autonomy and power. Civil societies are often populated by organizations such as registered charities, development non-governmental organizations, community groups, women's organizations, faith-based organizations, professional associations, trades unions, self-help groups, social movements, business associations, coalitions and advocacy groups. The concept of society fits into the notion of civil public sphere (Habermas, 1989), where interest groups and organizations interact with one another to argue for their interests. Although civil society is believed to play an important role in creating a favorable environment for the establishment of PSB systems, there are few studies regarding the impact of civil society on PSB systems. Most previous studies have focused on PSB systems in developed countries, especially those in Western Europe, where civil society exists in a minimal sense (Taylor, 1990, p. 98). However, in the United States, civil society seems to be an important influence on broadcasting policy. According to the Benton Foundation (2005), a powerful alliance of public policy groups, media activists, grassroots organizers representing millions of Americans and other civil society organizations, have submitted a proposal to the FCC to ensure that broadcasters are


committed to their public interest obligations. The same group has also proposed the Bill of Citizens Media Rights to foster a free and vibrant media, full of diverse and competing voices (The Benton Foundation, 2005). Unlike developed countries, in developing and post-Communist countries where political will for creating PSB systems is very limited, civil society groups are badly needed because, according to Collier (2007), they can help create critical mass, putting pressure on governments. However, civil society groups in developing countries are usually not strong enough to convince policymakers that they should put PSB systems on the governments agenda. In a book Serving the state or the public: The outlook for public service broadcasting in Slovenia, Hrvatin (2002) argued that newly established PSB organizations in post-Communist countries are facing crises due partly to the weakness of civil society. Vartanova and Zassoursky (2003) used Russia as an example for the causes of failure to implement PSB systems. They said that apart from inadequate funding, one of the main causes of the problematic situation is a lack of positive regulation favoring the interests of developing civil society in Russia (p. 103). Jakubowicz (2004) also stressed the importance of civil society groups in contributing to the establishment of PSB systems. He said that if political elites do not try to enable PSB systems to operate properly, it is the role of civil society groups, along with many other players, to put real pressure on the government. The absence of capable civil society groups leads a government to take PSB establishment for granted. In addition, it is commonly known that developing countries rely heavily on foreign assistance, which is usually distributed through civil society organizations.


According to UNDP (2004), 20 international civil society organizations worked on media reform in Sarajevo in 1997. In addition, they contributed financially to media sector initiatives. USAID has contributed US$30 million to support independent broadcasting in Sarajevo since 1996 (UNDP, 2004, p. 20). Recognizing the important role played by civil society and international organizations to the establishment of PSB systems, Stiles and Weeks (2006) recommend that UNESCO allocate resources on advocacy targeted at policymakers and senior decision makers through direct interventions and advocacy groups (p. 4). In Afghanistan, for example, UNESCO has played a leading role in reconstruction of Afghan media since early 2002 (Matsuura, 2005, p. 1). For instance, up to year 2005, along with bilateral donors, such as France, Germany, India, Japan, and other civil society groups, UNESCO provided US$ 4.1 million for capacity-building and broadcast equipment (Matsuura, 2005, p. 2). Likewise, in Cambodia, UNESCO has helped train Cambodias media practitioners through its Cambodia Communication Institute (CCI) project and other programs. The UNESCO country representative in Cambodia, Teruo Jinnai, said that UNESCO worked with the government and financially supported community broadcasting projects in Northeastern Cambodia (personal communication, August 12, 2007). In addition, the German government financially supports the Club of Cambodian Journalists (CCJ) and RUPPs Department of Media and Communication (DMC) through the Konrad Adenuer Foundation (KAF). Wolfgang Meyer, KAFs country representative in Cambodia, said his foundation has projects dealing with media development in


Cambodia. If a PSB system is created, his foundation will definitely support its establishment with training and expertise (personal communication, August 5, 2007). Even though it is acknowledged that civil society organizations in Cambodia have been relatively weak and are not very active in pressuring the government to reform its media policy, it is evident that they have some impact on Cambodian government policies. For instance, because the government often uses criminal defamation laws to restrict freedom of the press, in November 1999, November 2000, and December 2002, a number of civil society groups, the public, local and international nonprofit organizations such as the UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression, the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, and the OAS Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression jointly called on the Cambodian government to repeal all criminal defamation laws and replace them with civil defamation laws (ARTICLE 19, ADHOC, & CLEC, 2005). Even so, it is not clear whether civil society organizations are sufficiently knowledgeable about PSB systems or have enough influence to convince the Cambodian government to consider introducing PSB. Socio-Cultural Compatibility Several authors, such as Jakubowics (2004), Raboy (1994, 1998), and Sousa and Pinto (2005), have emphasized the importance of citizen participation in defining PSB systems and implementing the PSB concept. Raboy (1998) said PSB can act as a public resource for socio-cultural development; it can fulfill its potential only through sustained public policy action, along with the support from the public. Socio-cultural compatibility is a requisite for the establishment of PSB systems (Jakubowics, 2004). He pointed out that individuals interests in political and economic systems are crucial for democratic


consolidation. Dahlgren (2002) acknowledged the importance of citizen participation in a democratic environment, without which the establishment of PSB is not possible. He said that democracy does not work when there is an absence of citizen participation. He argued that socio-cultural factors constitute everyday preconditions for democratic participation (p. 16). As PSB systems are considered to be democratic institutions, citizen engagement is a significant contribution to creating a favorable environment for the establishment of PSB systems. For the aspects of PSB systems which act as democratic institutions, UNESCO (2001) pointed out that PSB systems speak everyone as a citizen. Public broadcasters to encourage access to and participation in public life. They develop knowledge, broaden horizons and enable people to better understand themselves by better understanding the world and others (p. i). PSB is a meeting place where everyone in a country has an equal chance to gain access and participate. The mandate of public service broadcasters, according to UNESCO (2001), is to inform, educate, entertain, and develop culture. In addition, the Council of the European Union (1997) also acknowledged the importance of socio-cultural factors and recommended that the member states of the European Union relate their PSB systems to the socio-cultural and democratic needs in each society. They even consider the socio-cultural nature of PSB systems as a public service (Raboy, 1998). In this sense, PSB systems carry a social-cultural component, but the question is whether citizens in a country, where PSB systems have never been introduced or have never existed, understand the importance of PSB, have the willingness to participate, and have a sense of belonging.


Jakubowicz (2004) said that socio-cultural prerequisites of PSB systems are largely absent in post-Communist countries. He is pessimistic about the creation of PSB systems because, he argues, there is a lack of social embeddedness of PSB systems. Also, technological, social, political, cultural circumstances in post-Communist countries are much different from those in Western Europe, where PSB systems were originally established. These arguments suggest that policymakers cannot create successful PSB systems without taking socio-cultural factors into consideration. Jakubowicz (2004) says imitation and transplantation of foreign patterns and arrangements, without understanding the local socio-cultural situation, can seldom be successful and will face a variety of challenges. Thailand is a good example of how a PSB system is localized to fit socio-cultural characteristics. Thailand studied existing PSB models, such as the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), the Japanese Broadcasting Corporation or Nippon Hoso Kyokai (NHK), and others, but Thailand eventually created a model appropriate specifically for Thai society (Nitsmer, 2009; T. Yong, Personal Communication, May 28, 2008). According to the Thai PBS Organization Act 2008, the mission of Thai PBS is to broadcast radio and TV programs to underpin social development, the quality of life and morality of Thainess; proportionately and suitably produce high-quality news, education and entertainment programs for the public without political bias and commercial interests; promote the freedom of information exposure so as to build a democratic society where people have equitable access to such information; to directly and indirectly encourage popular participation in


determining the direction of Thai PBS; and support public activities (as cited in Nitsmer, 2009, p. 5). Thepchai Yong, executive director of Thai PBS, said that, although existing PSB models of the world, such as BBC, NHK, and Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) have been studied, Thai policymakers took Thai socio-cultural factors into consideration when drafting the Thai Public Broadcasting Service Act 2008 (personal Communication, May 28, 2008). In the case of Cambodia, if what Jakubowics (2004) stated is true, as a postCommunist country, Cambodias socio-cultural circumstances may not be appropriate for the establishment of a PSB system. However, Joseph A. Mussomeli, former U.S. Ambassador to Cambodia, said anything is possible in Cambodia. He added that freedom of expression and press exists in contemporary Cambodian society because leading press organizations can publicly criticize the countrys leader without oppression (personal communication, July 31, 2007). But the absence of knowledge about PSB systems among Cambodian policymakers and average citizens can be an enormous challenge for the introduction of a PSB system. Summary Based on previous studies, the establishment of PSB systems is situational. It depends on a countrys political circumstances, economic conditions, socio-cultural factors and the strength of civil society. Raboy (1994) also pointed out that the PSB policymaking is context specific. Policymakers design different PSB systems in different contexts, different times in history and different social conditions. Raboy (1994) emphasized that three sets of tensions have determined the evolution of the Canadian


broadcasting system. Those are between private capital and the state, over the (a) economic basis of broadcasting; (b) between the state and the public, over the sociocultural mission of broadcasting; and (c) between competing visions of the relationship of broadcasting to the politics of Canadian nationhood. The resulting system is a reflection of these tensions. (p. 9) According to Raboy (1998), models for media structure and regulation can be borrowed from other countries, but since media systems reflect the societies where they operate, they need to be designed contextually. This observation is also supported by McChesney (2008) who, in The political economy of media: Enduring issues, emerging dilemmas, pointed out that media and communication systems are linked to both how economic and political systems work, and social power is exercised, in the society. (p. 12). This is true in the case of the PSB systems. In sum, it is clear that the establishment of PSB systems is determined predominantly by four macro factors: political circumstances, economic conditions, civil society groups, and socio-cultural compatibility. Thus, it is worth exploring whether Cambodia has appropriate characteristics for the PSB system to be created.


Chapter 3: Methodology Introduction The purpose of this chapter is to elucidate methods and procedures employed to explore the effects of four external factors - political circumstances, economic conditions, civil society, and socio-cultural compatibility - on broadcast media systems and their contribution to the prerequisites for establishment of a PSB system in Cambodia. In addition, it aims to answer the four research questions posed in Chapter 1. A qualitative research method is used for this study. The primary strategies for qualitative data collection were (1) interviews with persons who are involved in the issue to be studied; (2) the analysis of documents, such as decrees, minutes of meetings, reports, depositions; and (3) participant observation (Bogdan and Biklen, 1982; Lofland, et. al. 2005; Tuckman, 1999). For this study, three qualitative data collection strategies were used-in-depth interviews, focus groups, and the analysis of documents. As a qualitative researcher, I act as both miner and traveler, the metaphors used by Kvale (1996, p. 3-5) for interviewing respondents. Kvale (1996) said that a miner assumes respondents are knowledgeable about the subject, and the needed information can be obtained by interviewing them. By contrast, a traveler wanders around and gets information through conversation with respondents who have been living in the situation under study. I will elaborate more on this point later in the chapter. I was a miner when I used the in-depth interview strategy to question policymakers, media professionals and potential donor and civil society representatives because I believed they were familiar with the subject, and it would be useful to have their inputs. I was a traveler when I conducted focus groups and conversed with ordinary citizens to


determine their level of interest in PSB. I had no idea what they thought about a PSB system and whether such a system would be well received by audience members who were ordinary citizens. In addition to describing research methods, this chapter also discusses the research design, including preliminary study, the sample and the informants, and data analysis. Preliminary Study The preliminary study serves as an important connection between pre-writing and formulating my dissertation. The primary study was composed of components, such as gathering information from different sources and primary documents. The preliminary study shaped the direction and narrowed the scope of my research. I spent the whole summer, from early June through late August, 2007, conducting preliminary study in Cambodia. Although most data collected was not used for this dissertation, the preliminary research permitted me to shape my intended topic, gave me ideas about how to recruit informants as well as who to recruit, the time required, the research budget, and the amount of effort needed for the data collection process. My intended topic was to look at the possibility of creating either a community broadcasting or an independent broadcasting system in Cambodia. However, after conducting the preliminary study, I redirected the research goal to the possibility of establishing a PSB system in Cambodia. This was due to the fact that the vast majority of people I talked to during the preliminary study said they would like to have a broadcasting system that served the best interests of the public and was owned by the public rather than by interest groups or even an NGO. In addition, I determined that


community broadcasting systems could not be created in Cambodia, where community members were economically disadvantaged. UNESCO had made efforts to create community radio in the Northeastern part of Cambodia for hill tribes, but there was a question about sustainability. The World Bank also dropped its attempt to create community radio in Cambodia because of insufficient financial support at the community level. There were efforts to create independent broadcasting systems by NGOs, such as Voice of Democracy (VOD), which was originally under the Cambodian Center for Human Rights (CCHR) and is now operated by the Cambodian Center for Independence Media (CCiM). VOD was considered a good alternative radio program, but could not be broadcast on major radio stations due to political pressures. In addition, I was able to build contacts with some potential informants for the actual research and get to know them in person, which made it easier to invite them to participate in this study. As a result 21 out of 22 informants I talked to during preliminary study agreed to participate in the research project. The one who did not participate in the study was an international government representative, who finished his mission and left Cambodia. The preliminary study helped me narrow the research scope, identify informants, shape research questions, prepare a set of questionnaires and collect primary and secondary materials. In addition, it also helped me with identifying challenges I would face while conducting the actual fieldwork and with estimating the budget and time frame.


In-depth Interview Interviewing people who are involved in the issue to be studied is a direct way of seeking information about it (Tuckman, 1999). Different people experience a situation from different perspectives. In-depth interviews are one of the best data collection strategies for eliciting the viewpoints of policymakers, decision makers, executives, donors, and other stakeholders about (1) the prospects for establishment of a PSB system in Cambodia; (2) the best organizational structure of a PSB system; (3) financial issues confronted by a PSB system; and (4) general suggestions about the operation of a PSB system. Qualitative interviews consist of four types: (1) informal interviews with no predetermined questions or wording; (2) semi-structured interviews or the interview guide approach, in which the specific topic to be studied is determined in advance with the interviewer deciding the sequence of questions during the interview; (3) standardized, open-ended interviews, with questions and the sequence of questions specified in advance; and (4) closed, fixed response interviews, in which questions and response categories are fixed (Patton, 1990). Rubin and Rubin (1995) said a qualitative interviewing design is flexible, interactive, and continuous, rather than prepared in advance and locked in stone (p. 43). Babbie (2004) also said that a qualitative interview is a interaction between an interviewer and a respondent in which the interviewer has a n general plan of inquiry but not a specific set of questions that must be asked with particular words and in a particular order (p. 300). For this study, I used the first two types of interview. Although I prepared an interview guide, each interview began with an informal or conversational approach


aiming to build on observation and individual situations. Interviewees were guided back to those topics specified in the interview guide that had not been covered. This allowed interviewees to freely express their opinions on topics of interest to them. At the same time, the predetermined topics specified in the interview guide were all covered. I had to assure that no predetermined topic was left unasked. Thus, while the interviews remained situational and conversational, the comprehensiveness and the collection of data was systematic. In addition, because a majority of respondents were not familiar with the PSB system, I briefly explained how PSB systems operated in the UK, Japan, South Africa, and Thailand before I asked for their inputs and viewpoints about the possibility of establishing a PSB in Cambodia. This provided respondents with some idea about PSB systems in general. Surprisingly, most respondents did not even know that such PSB systems existed in the world, and they were excited to learn about them. Focus Group According Babbie (2004), the focus group method is used for a study whose purpose is to explore rather than to describe or explain in any definitive sense (p. 303). Krueger and Casey (2000) said a focus group is a special type of group, whose purpose is to listen and gather data. They said a focus group is a way to better understand how people feel or think about an issue, product, or service (p. 4). In addition, they said: Keep in mind that the intent of focus groups is not to infer but to understand, not to generalize but to determine the range, and not to make statements about the population but to provide insights about how people in the groups perceive a situation. (p. 83)


Since this study aimed in part to explore the need for a PSB system in Cambodia, conducting focus groups enabled me to understand Cambodian audience members points of views about whether a PSB system was needed. Four focus groups were conducted among broadcast audience members in four regions, including the capital Phnom Penh, Siem Reap Province, Sihanouk Ville, and Stung Treng Province. Krueger and Casey (2000) point out four important points for conducting a focus group: 1. Purpose: To understand how people feel or think about an issue, product, service or idea; 2. Participants: Six to eight people selected because they have something in common. [Later in the book, they said a focus group is typically composed of five to ten people, but it may vary from as few as four to as many as twelve]; 3. Moderator: Skilled 4. Environment: Comfortable, permissive (p. 4) The focus groups for this study were homogeneous, given that the participants were composed of ordinary citizens who lived in the same areas and liked listening to radio and watching TV. They were asked to participate in the research on a voluntary basis. However, they differed in age, gender, level of education, and occupation. For instance, some participants were high school teachers, who had a better education than those who were high school students or farmers. Ideally, according to Krueger and Casey (2000), participants in a focus group are complete strangers. However, because of time limitations, the participants recruited for each group in this study generally knew each other because they lived in the same areas


of town and some of them worked or studied together. But they were not relatives or close friends. Participants were invited to participate in the focus group discussion on voluntary basis. They were thus comfortable in discussing the issues and freely answered the open-ended questions posed to them. I had a set of questions prepared to ask the groups. The same set of questions was used for each focus group, but the questions were not necessarily in the same order for every group. Before posing those questions, I introduced myself to the groups, although a few members knew who I was because I told them when I first met them and asked them to help identify others for this study. I will explain in detail how I recruited them in a later section. In addition, I also explained the purpose of the study and the reasons they were invited to participate. It was crucial to familiarize the informants with the researcher and the purpose of the research, especially for this study, because it was conducted during the general election campaign, when people were afraid to talk with strangers, who they might have thought were members of a political party to which they did not belong. Political threats are common during elections in Cambodia. Therefore, it was important to distinguish between an academic study and a politically motivated study or political campaign. I also told participants that their identification, including their names, would not be revealed, and that all personal data would be kept secret. At the beginning of each discussion, I asked them to sign consent forms. It is important to note that none of the group members refused to sign the consent form. In regard to the way in which the focus group interviews were conducted, I numbered members of the group, starting with the one sitting on the right. The first few


questions concerned their personal data, such as how often they listened to radio and watched TV, I asked them one by one from right to left around the table. After that they were allowed to freely voice their concerns and opinions. I tried to make sure that everyone had an equal opportunity to talk but some members of the group spoke more than others. All respondents were identified by number. No names were mentioned during the discussion. At the end, I read the prepared consent forms for them and invited them to write their names and sign the forms, informing them that their remarks could be deleted if they desired. Like the in-depth interviews, I conducted the focus group discussions in an educational way by briefly describing the PSB systems in the UK, Japan, South Africa, and Thailand before requesting their opinions about what they felt was needed in Cambodia. This was important because if they did not know what types of broadcasting systems existed, they would not have been able to offer their opinions or they might have based their opinions on what they had been exposed to in Cambodia. Most of the participants were surprised that such PSB systems existed elsewhere. Therefore, if PBS systems had not been explained to them, they would not have known about them, and they would not have been able to give their opinions appropriately. Analysis of Documents For qualitative researchers, analysis of documents reports, diaries, official records, letters, newspaper accounts, announcements, decrees, etc. is another invaluable source of information (Hoepfl, 1997). Lindlof and Taylor (2002) said because the documents are the paper trail left in the w of historical events and processes, they ake are very important for a qualitative analyst (p. 117). Miller (1997) said documents can


help in understanding social contexts that a researcher is studying (as cited in Lindlof & Taylor, 2002). Lindlof and Taylor (2002) add that past events or ongoing process can be reconstructed by a researcher through documents. Taking this into consideration, I collected documents from various organizations, whose representatives I interviewed for the study. I was also able to access some government documents, such as decrees, ministerial reports, and other documents including brochures, booklets and placards. I was able to obtain these documents from the Ministry of Information, TVK, the Womens Media Center, the DMC, KAF, LICADHO, EU, the World Bank, Apsara TV, Beehive Radio FM 105, the VOA Khmer Service, IBB, BBC World Service Trust, and VOD or CCiM. Books were also used to obtain data for this study. These primary and secondary materials were crucial since they gave me insight into the current broadcasting situation, policies of the government, and the position of non-profit organizations, especially potential donors for independent broadcasting stations. Samples and Informants While quantitative inquirys dominant sampling strategy is probability sampling, qualitative inquirys dominant sampling strategy is purposeful sampling (Hoepfl, 1997). As this is a qualitative inquiry, the informants for this study were selected non-randomly to fit the purpose of the study. This type of sampling is called purposive sampling (Babbie, 2004, p. 183; Miller & Salkind, 2002, p. 53) or purposeful sampling (Lindlof & Taylor, 2002, p. 122) or judgmental sampling (Babbie, 2004, p. 183; Carlson & Hyde, 2003, p. 207). The sampling employed in this study was mixed, purposive sampling and snowball sampling (Carlson & Hyde, 2003; Lindlof & Taylor, 2002). Based on previous studies and taking into consideration that broadcast media are affected


by four main factors (political circumstances, economic conditions, civil society and socio-cultural compatibility) and based on my preliminary study, I had purposefully planned on employing sampling using one set criteria before conducting the fieldwork. The set criteria of sampling included representatives from the Ministry of Information and the Royal Palace, media practitioners, representatives of broadcast stations, civil society, ruling party CPP members, opposition parties, potential donors, information commissions of the National Assembly and Senate, media academics, and ordinary people. By interviewing these individuals, I expected to get the data I needed to understand how the four main factors, and other significant influences on Cambodias media, determined the feasibility of establishing a PSB system in Cambodia, and, if so, how the newly established PSB could be politically and financially independent. Therefore, I went to the field with set sampling criteria in mind; during the fieldwork, I used the snowball approach to expand my list of participants. According to Biernacki and Waldorf (1981) snowball sampling yields a study sample through referrals made among people who share or know of others who possess some characteristics that are of research interest (p. 141). Snowball sampling is the most useful and maybe the only way for identifying members of elusive populations or engaging informants about a sensitive subject (Carlson & Hyde, 2003; Lindlof & Taylor, 2002). I often asked the people with whom I had face-to-face interviews to suggest other people who might have expertise on the issues being studied. By using snowball sampling, I was able to extend my list of participants from 22 in the preliminary study to 68 informants. Three main methods, face-to-face in-depth interviews, focus groups, and


the analysis of documents, were used in this study. The following is the sampling strategy for each method. Samples for in-depth interviews. Thirty-eight individuals, seven females and 31 males, were recruited using purposive and snowball sampling strategies. Before going to the field, I had prepared a list of 22 individuals for face-to-face in-depth interview. The list was prepared after the preliminary study in 2007, a year before the fieldwork for this study was conducted. Thirteen of the informants on the list had been contacted and accepted my invitation to participate in this research before I actually went to conduct the fieldwork. Upon arrival in Cambodia on April 25, 2008, I sent invitation letters (appendix 1) to some respondents, made phone calls to, and e-mailed those whose e-mail addresses were available. I successfully made appointments with a few of them on the phone right away. I also went to a few respondents offices because neither their phone numbers nor e-mail addresses were available. The fieldwork was conducted from April 25 through June 25, 2008. In addition to funding from Ohio Universitys Student Enhancement Award, Graduate Student Senate Original Research Grant Award, and Graduate Student Senate Travel Grant, this fieldwork was funded in part by the Documentation Center of Cambodia (DC-Cam) (the prominent archive of Khmer Rouge documents to support the international-Cambodian hybrid court to bring top Khmer Rouge leaders to justice for the death of a quarter of Cambodias total population between 1975 and 1979). It is worth noting that I received the prestigious UNESCO/Keizo Obuchi fellowship for writing up this dissertation.


I was fortunate to have been provided office space at the DC-Cam with full Internet access. In addition, DC-Cam provided me with one of its capable staff members to be my research assistant. Pheng Pong Rasy used to work with me at the National Library of Cambodia as one of a cataloguers. In 1998, he resigned and began working at DC-Cam full time and was placed in charge of the Mapping and Forensics Project. For the project, Rasy interviewed hundreds of villagers, including former Khmer Rouge victims and perpetrators. From his findings, he wrote a 275-page report describing the Khmer Rouge security centers (prisons) and produced a Cambodian Killing Map revealing 390 execution sites, 196 security offices and 81 memorials. Rasys work with DC-Cam included working with the Legal Response Team and the Victim Participation Project. His primary responsibilities include summarizing Khmer Rouge documents, interviewing survivors, and locating information requested by the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (the Khmer Rouge Tribunal). These projects have provided him with an opportunity to participate fully in the process of pursuing justice and fostering peace and national reconciliation in Cambodia. Since 2008, Rasy also began working as Senior Team Leader for the Genocide Education Project, which aims to provide training to Cambodian teachers on the history of the Khmer Rouge regime and the methodologies to teach this history. Within the project, Rasy leads the Public Education Forum, which is conducted in 24 provinces and provides a unique opportunity to help increase genocide awareness and genocide education from the grassroots level. The forum focuses on people who live in remote areas and have little access to textbooks and publications related to the Khmer Rouge history. The Forum also provides opportunities for villagers who are both victims and


perpetrators to create a dialogue and collaborate with teachers in educating their children about what happened during the Khmer Rouge regime. In July 2009, Rasy received a fellowship to study in Australia for one month and share his work and experience in transitional justice, peace building and reconciliation in Cambodia. In the same year, he also traveled to the United Kingdom to participate in a course on Facing History and Ourselves. The course focused on Holocaust and Human Rights. From January to March 2010, he worked as an intern at Lowell High School in Lowell, Massachusetts, USA. Rasy is currently pursuing his Masters degree in Educational Leadership and Management from Chulalongkan University in Thailand. Rasys role in this research fieldwork was assisting me with appointments with research informants, note taking, and transcribing most of the interviews. His extensive experience working in the field and conducting interviews made this research fieldwork much easier than I had expected. At DC-Cam and with Rasys assistance, I started to send out invitation letters via mail and email. I sometimes called the offices of informants or their direct cell phones. I rented a room at a guesthouse near DC-Cam so that I could walk to work every weekday, sometimes weekends. The following is how I proceeded day-to-day data collection. The first respondent who confirmed an appointment for the interview was a representative of the Noromdom Ranaridh Party (NRP), an opposition party that split off from the FUNCINPEC Party, which had been a coalition member of government with the Cambodian Peoples Party (CPP) between 1993 and 2008. The appointment was on April 30, 2008. Because the national election campaign was underway, I found it easy to make an appointment with opposition parties because they wanted their voices to be accessible


to the public. They agreed to talk with anyone who asked them for an interview. The NRPs representative welcomed me and my research assistant at the NRP headquarters. The interview lasted for about an hour with quite a few phone call interruptions from electoral stations. At the end of the interview, the NRP representative recommended that I interview a Beehive Radio FM105 representative, who was already in my list of research participants and who had already agreed to meet with me on June 5, 2008. On May 2, 2008, I met with a representative of KAF, which had been deeply involved in media developments in Cambodia. KAF funded the operations of the Club of Cambodian Journalists (CCJ) and the RUPPs DMC. The interview was conducted at the KAF office. The KAF representative recommended that I meet with representatives of UNESCO, LICADHO, CCJ, and DMC, three of which were already on my list of research participants. On May 3, 2008, I had appointments with representatives of the Ministry of Information at 9 am and UNESCO at 11 am. These appointments were difficult because I did not have much time between the appointments, and the Ministry of Information and UNESCO headquarters were not near each other. In addition, this was the rush hour. It is worth noting that Cambodian official office hours are from 7:30am to 11am and then from 2pm to 5pm. People usually travel home for lunch and/or a siesta. Therefore, I expected in advance that I might be late for the appointment with the UNESCO representative. I should have made the appointment on different days, but this day was the only time they were free during my fieldwork. This was a difficult decision to make. I did tell the UNESCO secretary that I might be late and explained why. She told me she would bring this to my informants attention.


I found it difficult to find the office of my informant at the Ministry of Information because it was a Saturday and nobody was at work at the Ministry; in addition, the Ministry of Information was under renovation, and the informants office had been moved to another building. I kept calling him, but he did not pick up the phone. By the time I found the informant's office, I was 30 minutes late. He said it was alright because he was busy receiving other guests as well. The interview was completed after an hour, and I had to excuse myself so that I could get to the next appointment. As expected, it took me a long time to reach UNESCO office, where my informant was waiting for me anxiously. I was about half an hour late for that appointment. He was clearly not in a good mood and this was a good lesson for me when I made other appointments. If I made appointments with two people on the same day, one should be in the morning and another in the afternoon following the siesta. However, sometimes it was not possible to control the situation, including this one because those were the only times available. When I arrived at the UNESCO representatives office, he said that he was about to leave. I apologized for being late and told him about the situation. He did not respond to my apology, but asked me to start my questions right away. He warned me that I must not allow the interview to go beyond half an hour because he had another commitment. I felt very uncomfortable, but I politely thanked him for talking to me during my preliminary study and agreeing to talk to me for the study. I also thanked him for continuously funding the media training project of the Cambodia Communication Institute (CCI), under the management of DMC, which had been founded by me, and I was officially still the department head. I was able to cool the situation down a bit and


started to explain to him the purpose of my study and tell him how important his input was. Our conversation went on for more than an hour instead of half an hour. At the end of our conversation, he recommended that I interview some other people, such as representatives from KAF, CCJ, DMC and broadcast stations and invited me to participate in the Press Freedom Day to be held the next day. I found the recommendation by the UNESCO representative regarding representatives of broadcast stations important. However, I selectively recruited representatives of three radio stations, including Beehive FM 105 (an opposition leaning station), WMC radio FM 102 (an NGO station), and Municipality Radio FM 103 (a private station), and all of the TV broadcasters, except Royal Armed Force TV5 and TV9 because representatives of these stations kept putting off appointments with me until the end of my fieldwork. The next day, May 5, 2008, I was excited to participate in the Press Freedom Day co-organized by UNESCO and CCI/DMC at the Phnom Penh Hotel. I expected to meet a lot of people who I could invite to participate in this study. I prepared consent forms and invitation letters ready to hand out at the forum. At the same time, I hoped to meet with those who had not replied to my invitation so that I could get confirmation at the forum. As expected, I was able to hand quite a few invitation letters and consent forms and confirmed some appointments. For instance, an opposition party MP and member of the National Assemblys Commission on Foreign Affairs, International Cooperation, Propaganda and Information, confirmed his appointment with me on the next day. At the forum, I also met with the German Ambassador, who I invited to participate in the study. He told me he was not able to participate because he was not knowledgeable about the


subject and was not in a position to talk about it. In addition, I had some input from the discussion at the forum as well. On May 6, 2008, I met with a representative of the National Assemblys Commission of Foreign Affairs, International Cooperation at the National Assembly. Our conversation was interrupted by many phone calls. After almost every phone interruption, he asked me what our conversation was about. I had to recall the conversation for him. I could not tell him to switch off his phone. In Cambodia, it is usual to hear phones ring during meetings. People also read newspapers in meetings sometimes, even at National Assembly or Senate sessions. He suggested that I can call him anytime if I had additional questions. On May 7, 2008, I met with two editors-in-chief of newspapers, one international and one local, at their offices. I met one of them in the morning and another one in the late afternoon. They were very cooperative and recommended a few additional people for me to meet, such as representatives of CCJ, CAPJ and BBC World Service Trust, Cambodia. On May 8, 2008, I met with a Senator, who is a representative of the Senates Commission of Foreign Affairs, International Cooperation, Propaganda and Information at her Senate office. My research assistant and I were welcomed by the senator and her staff members. It seemed very formal. One of her staff members took photos of our meeting and her secretary took notes. I noticed that she was not comfortable when I probed into some issues, such as when the broadcasting law would be enacted, who was on the bill drafting team, what stage the broadcasting bill was at and so on. On that day, I also met with a representative of BBC World Service Trust, Cambodia at his office.


Before a trip to Siem Reap Province to conduct a focus group (I will describe this in a following section), I met with a representative of TVK in his office at the TVK headquarters on May 9, 2008. He was busy working with a few of his staff members in the office. When I arrived at the office, all of the staff members went out except the one who sat at his computer at the left corner of the long rectangular meeting table, where we were sitting. As usual, the conversation was interrupted by phone calls and staff members, who came in and out to have documents signed. The conversation went on for an hour. At the end of the conversation, I asked the staff member to help take pictures of me with the TVK representative. The respondent recommended that I talk to the president of the Cambodian TV Association and the president of the Cambodian Radio Association. Even though I thanked him for his recommendation, I hesitated about interviewing them for this study because they are both politicians and high ranking government officers. I later found them important for the study. Thus, I made an appointment with the Cambodian TV Association representative and the representative of the Cambodian Radio Association on May 23, 2008 and June 4, 2008 respectively. After returning from my fieldwork in Siem Reap Province on May 13, 2008, I met with a representative of LICADHO at her office. She was busy with her foreign guests, who spoke French with her. Her staff spoke mixed Khmer and French to one another in the office. I was warmly welcomed by the representative. Before we started our interview, she provided me with some of LICADHO publications, including Reading between the lines: How politics, money & fear control Cambodias media, which was a very useful reference for this study. The interview went on for about an hour. At the end, she emphasized the importance of this unique study on a subject, which, according to her,


had never been investigated before. She said she could not wait to read the report of this research. When asked whether she could recommend any additional experts for the study, she recommended that I interview a representative of CCiM, which is the only independent media organization in the country. I agreed that the inputs from CCiM representative would probably be important for the study. On May 14, 2008, a day before making another field trip to conduct a focus group with residents of Sihanoukville, I met with a representative of the Womens Media Center, which owns Radio FM 102 and produces many forms of media programs, including TV soap operas, radio plays, and educational spots broadcast by existing radio and TV outlets. It also acts as a broadcasting production house. The interview was conducted at her office. At the end of the interview, she asked me who I had met and who else I wanted to meet. I showed her a list of representatives of the institutions that I was going to meet without specifying exactly who I would interview. She said the list of informants was good and emphasized that meeting with the King would be useful for this study. After my fieldwork in Sihanoukville, on May 20, 2008, I met with a Bayon TV and radio station representative at his office at the Bayon TV station. I was welcomed by a secretary and waited for a while before he came and took me to another quiet room. He looked well prepared with notes in his hand. Unlike previous informants I met, he switched his phone to a silent mode and listened to my introduction and questions carefully and answered accordingly. As his facial expression looked unfriendly and serious, I felt a bit uneasy at the beginning, but the interview went well. He suggested that I interview the president of the Cambodian TV Association and the president of the


Cambodian Radio Association. I told him that I had already contacted representatives of both organizations and already set up interviews with them. On May 22, 2008 in the morning, I met with two media academics at the RUPPs DMC. In the afternoon, I met with a representative of the CAPJ at the office of an International Broadcaster in Phnom Penh. Since they were working in the field of media, they were willing to talk and curious about what I would do with the research, and what I would plan on doing next. They were very cooperative and looked forward to reading the report on my research. On May 23, 2008, I met with a representative of the Cambodian TV Association. I was warmly welcomed at his office. The interview was interrupted by staff members who came in and out of his office for his signature and to ask for his opinions on certain TV programs. He finally locked the door, but his staff still knocked on the door. Because of the interruption, he lost his train of thought, and I had to help him recall what he had been talking about. At the beginning of the interview, before signing a consent form, he provided me with some reports and surveys conducted by the TVK. Since Thailand had just established PSB, I thought it would be interesting and useful to have a chance to talk with those who were directly involved. Therefore, I flew to Thailand on May 24, 2008 and stayed there until May 30, 2008 to interview a few people who were knowledgeable about the establishment of Thai PBS. I was fortunate to have Dr. Bhandhira Lertdechdecha, a friend of mine and an Ohio University graduate, who worked for Naresuan University, to help arrange interviews with informants. She was then working for Democratic Party of Thailand and had contacts with those who knew key people who were involved in the Thai PBS. On my first day in Thailand, Dr.


Lertdechdech and I tried to contact the people who knew those who worked on the establishment of Thai PBS. Finally, we found that there was a workshop on citizen journalism being held in Nonthaburi Province, northwest of Bangkok. We were told by one of the organizers who happened to be a friend of Dr. Lertdechdechas boss that important people from Thai PBS would show up at the workshop on May 27. On May 27, 2008, Dr. Lertdechdecha drove me to the workshop and introduced me to a few workshop organizers, including an executive director of Thai PBS. The workshop trained ordinary citizens from provinces to write stories and produce broadcast programs about what happened in their communities. At the workshop, I had an opportunity to interview a news editor of Thai PBS and made an appointment with another official of Thai PBS next day. This afforded an opportunity to observe and learn about Thai citizen journalism, and I was inspired by the enthusiasm of the workshop participants. The workshop not only gave me an opportunity to meet with my target informants, but also provided useful information about citizen journalism as practiced in the neighboring country. On May 28, 2008, I went to Thai PBS office to interview one of the Thai PBSs executives. I met the same group of participants who had been at the citizen journalism workshop. They were visiting the Thai PBS headquarters. My informant was there at the gathering. I ended up listening to his speech to the participants and waited to meet with him. Finally, he invited me to his office for an interview. Through the interview with him, I knew that he was very knowledgeable about PSB. The interview provided me with insightful information about Thai media situation in general and the process of establishing Thai PBS and its financial scheme in particular. I also had an opportunity to


meet with other supporting staff members to discuss the establishment and the day-to-day operation of Thai PBS. I was told by my dissertation advisor Professor Drew McDaniel that Dr. Ubonrat Siriyuvasak, a media professor at Chulalongkorn University, would be one of the people I should interview about Thai PBS. When I was in Thailand, I was told that for some reason she did not like the way in which Thai PBS had been established. Whatever views she had about the establishment of Thai PBS, I believed her input on the issue would be useful for my research. Unfortunately, I was unable to meet with her despite all the efforts I made. I flew back to Cambodia on May 30, 2008 to prepare for a trip to Stung Treng Province in the northeastern part of Cambodia. (I will discuss the trip to Stung Treng in a later section). After coming back from Stung Treng Province, I met with a representative of the Delegation of the European Commission to Cambodia at his office on June 3, 2008. Following the 45 minute interview he recommended that I meet his local media and public relations officer, who he said knew more about the EU media project than he himself did. After the interview he introduced me to her and asked her to speak with me. She recognized my name because Radio Free Asia had broadcast my profile just before I left for Cambodia to conduct fieldwork. She said she knew only my name, but now she met me in person and knew my face. This was a good opportunity for me to build trust with her and allowed her to speak freely. On June 4, 2008, in the morning, I met with a representative of TV3 in a restaurant for breakfast before work. He preferred meeting there to meeting at the TV3


station, where his office was located. In the afternoon, I met with a representative of Apsara TV and Radio. He was also a representative of the Cambodian Radio Association. He said he could speak for both places. The interview took place at the Apsara TV station. On June 5, 2008, I met with a representative of Beehive Radio FM 105. He said that he had agreed to an interview with me because I was a student from a U.S. university. If I had been just an average citizen or a student in Cambodia, he would not have bothered giving me an interview. I was puzzled and felt uncomfortable about this comment. However, the conversation went smoothly. In the late afternoon, I met with a representative of Cambodia TV Network (CTN) at the CTN station. At first he was suspicious about why I wanted to interview him and who would have access to my research report. I told him that it was for a doctoral dissertation. He was concerned that the information he provided might be accessible to his competitors, especially one that was just being established. I explained my project to him, and he seemed to understand the nature of the study. On June 6, 2008 in the morning, I drove to the Human Rights Party (HRP) Headquarters to meet with a HRP official. At the headquarters, thousands of constituents had congregated to listen to a group of party representatives, talking about party strategy for the upcoming election. The representative who I had made an appointment with was speaking to the press. Everyone was busy at the headquarters. I just waited and watched all this activity. Most of the constituents were from the provinces. Finally, I had a chance to talk to the informant. He was very friendly and willing to talk. His complaint was that the HRP found it difficult to access any broadcasters in Cambodia, and it was good to


have me there as a vehicle to help promote democracy, rule of law, human rights, and freedom of expression. So that he would not be confused about my identity, I introduced myself and explained the purpose of my visit. He told me that he had read my invitation letter to him and knew why I was there. He seemed very interested in the subject of my study, which made me comfortable to talk to him. On the same day in the afternoon, I met at a local restaurant with a Cambodian media practitioner who worked for an international broadcaster. During the meal I briefed him about the background of my research and shared with him information about the PBS systems in the United Kingdom, Japan, South Africa, and Thailand. He said this was good background information for him so that he could give opinion appropriately. On June 7, 2008, I met with a representative of FUNCIPEC Party at his house. When I arrived, he was meeting with a journalist, and I had to wait for about half an hour. He then greeted me with a smile and offered me a soft drink. He looked serious and asked me what I wanted to interview him about. I was surprised that he had not received my invitation letter, in which I clearly spelled out the purpose of my interview. He carefully answered my questions and tried to distinguish his opinions from those of the government because he was a deputy prime minister in the coalition government at that time. On June 10, 2008, I met for lunch with a Cambodia media practitioner who worked for an international news agency at a restaurant near the Intercontinental Hotel. We talked there for a while, but it was too noisy to record there so we decided to move to a caf in the lobby of the Intercontinental Hotel to continue our interview.


In the afternoon of the same day, I met with an MP from the Cambodian Peoples Party (CPP) in his office at the National Assembly. I spent 30 minutes waiting at a lounge in his office. One of his staff members came out of his office and asked me for the questions I was going to ask. I told him that I did not have a prior set of question but that I could brief him about the topics I wanted to discuss. The staff person took notes and went back to the MPs office. After about 45 minutes and came back to call me in. When I opened the door, the MP greeted me with a big smile and asked me to sit right in front of him at his desk, on which a few thick books of laws and the Constitution were open. His assistant sat beside me on a chair with a notebook and a pen in hand. The MP referred to the open books several times when my questions were related to specific laws. He referred to the 1995 Press Regime Law a number of times. He sometimes read the whole article of the 1995 Press Regime Law. On June 11, 2008, I met with a Cambodian media practitioner who worked for an international broadcaster at a small local restaurant because he was not comfortable talking at his office. Our interview went well while we drank coffee and ate snacks. On the same day, in the afternoon, I met with a representative of Radio FM 103. He had not received my invitation letter, and he did not know the purpose of the interview. However, he said he had been told by a friend of mine who worked there that it was all right to give an interview because it was for an academic purpose. During the interview, there was a lot of background noise from people talking, and it was difficult for me to concentrate, but it did not seem to bother him because he was accustomed to this environment. I was afraid that my recorder would not pick up what he said, and I


listened to it through an ear phone to ensure that I would be able to transcribe the interview. On June 13, 2008, in the morning, I drove to meet with an MP of SRP at her house. I had to wait for about 45 minutes because she was at TVK and would be back later. I had no choice but to wait. About half an hour later, she came back and apologized. She had forgotten the appointment with me. She said she had another commitment at her party, but she could talk to me for a while. Because it was during the election campaign, public figures were busy, but it was a good time to gather information because people were more likely to meet with me during the campaign, thinking that I was one of the reporters. On the same day, in late afternoon, I met with another TVK representative, who had done research on the media. He knew PSB better than most people at TVK and the Ministry of Information. I, therefore, decided to invite him to participate in this study. The interview was conducted at his office at the TVK station. The interview went smoothly because the topic was in his area of interest. He also shared with me some documents that he had gathered. He then recommended that I talk with DMC/CCI and UNESCO representatives. I told him I already talked to them. On June 17, 2008, I met a representative of the World Bank in Cambodia at his office. Making an appointment was very difficult because he spent most of his time in the provinces, where World Bank projects were implemented. We had to put off our appointment a few times, but I finally had a chance to meet with him. In the afternoon of the same day, I conducted a focus group with broadcast audience members in Phnom Penh.


I asked for an audience with the King, but this was not successful. I sent a letter and documents through two channels: the Ministry of the Royal Palace, and the Cabinet of the Royal Palace. I worked with a Royal Palace officer on drafting letters and the special terms used for communicating with the King. In the end, I was asked to come to the royal palace to get the King's response, which said that the King was too busy during my fieldwork and that a representative of his cabinet could talk to me instead. Therefore, I ended up talking to a representative of the King's cabinet on June 19, 2008. I was asked not to record the conversation, but I could take notes. I decided to stop looking for more informants for in-depth interviews when the number of the informants reached 38 because I felt that I had reached saturation and had not learned anything new from the last few informants. I decided that getting more informants did not add much additional input to the study. According to Lindlof and Taylor (2002), sample size in qualitative research cannot be determined until later in the course of a study. They said a researcher can stop sampling persons, settings, activities, and so on when they cease to be surprised by what they learn as they add new information. Samples for focus groups. As mentioned earlier, focus groups are normally composed of from six to eight people, but it may vary from as few as four to as many as twelve. In this study, I recruited 30 participants, among whom 16 were females and 14 were males. Each group was composed of seven or eight participants. I conducted four focus groups with broadcast audience members in four regions, Phnom Penh, Siem Reap Province, Sihanoukville, and Stung Treng Province, to explore the demand for a PSB system in Cambodia. The map


below shows the geographical locations of the four regions. Region 1 consists of Phnom Penh, Kandal, Kampong Chhnang, Kampong Cham, Kampong Thom, Prevy Veng, and Savey Rieng provinces; Region 2 of Siem Reap, Battambang, Banteay Meanchey, Preah Vihear, Pailin, and Udor Meanchey provinces; Region 3 of Sihanoukville, Koh Kong, Kampot, Kep, Takeo, Kampong Speu, and Pursat Provinces; and Region 4 of Stung Treng, Kratie, Ratanak Kiri, and Mondul Kiri Provinces.

Figure 1: Cambodia is Geographically Divided into Four Regions.

After meeting with the representative of TVK on May 9, 2008, my research assistant and I drove in a SUV provided by DC-Cam to Siem Reap Province in 72

northeastern part of Cambodia for a focus group interview with ordinary people. We arrived at a hotel recommended by a friend of mine who worked for the Cambodian TV Network (CTN) late in the afternoon on the same day. We were warmly welcomed by the hotel owner, to whom I explained the purpose of our trip. She told us that she heard about it from the friend of mine but was not sure what exactly was involved. She asked me what I wanted to do. I told her that I wanted to conduct a focus group among ordinary citizens in the provincial town. I then asked her if she could help invite those who liked watching TV and listening to radio. More importantly, they had to participate voluntarily in the focus group. She said she wanted to participate also and that she knew a few people who liked listening to radio and watching television. I told her that if possible I wanted participants who did not know each other. I asked her to introduce each person to me and that I would then talk to the person alone. She introduced me to a 50 year-old man, to whom I explained the purpose of the research and asked him whether he could help introduce me to another person, which he did. I kept doing this and finally, I had eight participants, five females and three males with ages ranging from 18 to 50 years old. Some of them knew each other. The focus group interview was conducted on May 11, 2008 at a spacious living room in a house of the hotel owner. The focus group interview went well since everyone seemed to enjoy voicing their opinions about every topic posed to them. I noticed that younger people had more ideas and talked more than the older ones. Traditionally, in Cambodia, younger people pay respect to their elders and do not talk much in their presence, but the younger people in this group did not follow the traditional norm. This might have been due to the fact that younger people have more exposure to media, about


which older people have less knowledge. In addition, usually when older people are not sure about things, they do not want to take the risk of embarrassing themselves in front of younger people. It might be a drawback of this focus group that the older people did not talk much, although I tried to coordinate by giving them an equal opportunity. On May 15, 2008, my research assistant and I traveled to Sihanoukville, now known as Sihanouk Province, in the southwestern part of Cambodia to conduct another focus group with ordinary citizens. After checking into a hotel, I talked to a receptionist, who was very friendly, and told her about my study and the purpose of my trip. She said she wanted to participate in the focus group. Using the same snowball approach as in Siem Reap Province, I was able to invite eight participants, four of whom were females and four males. The participants ranged from 17 to 55 years old. The focus group was conducted on May 17, 2008 at a restaurant within the hotel compound. They were served soft drinks. I noticed that at first most participants were suspicious about the purpose of the focus group because none of them had ever participated in such a discussion or even heard about it. As in the focus group in Siem Reap Province, I started the discussion by telling them the purpose of my study, the reasons they were invited and that their participation had to be voluntary, that their names would not be revealed and that the study was purely academic and apolitical. I told them that they could withdraw from the discussion either at the beginning or at any time they felt uncomfortable. I told them that by not signing the consent forms at the end of the discussion, they would automatically be excluded from the study. Everyone participated in the focus group and none of them refused to sign the consent form. The discussion


went smoothly and no significant problems occurred as everyone seemed to enjoy voicing their opinions. A day after coming back from my interviews in Thailand, my research assistant and I, accompanied by an official from Phnom Penh municipality, made a trip to Stung Treng Province on May 29, 2008. We arrived in the evening. After finding a guest house to stay, we drove to my cousins house. He was surprised to see me and my colleagues at his place without advance notice. In Cambodia, it is acceptable to visit someones house without a prior appointment. I told him and his wife about the purpose of my trip and asked him if he could help introduce me to someone who liked listening to radio and watching TV. He said he liked both TV and radio and would like to participate in the focus group and introduced me to one of his colleagues, who was teaching at one of the high schools in the provincial town. That man then introduced me to one of his friends, who introduced me to another one of his friends. I used the same snowball approach as I did for the earlier focus groups. I managed to invite seven informants, three of whom were females and four were males. Their ages ranged between 21 and 45 years old. The focus group was conducted on May 31, 2008 in the afternoon at a small restaurant belonging to the guesthouse where we stayed. All participants sat at a rectangular table with a cluster of cans of soft drinks in the middle of the table. I told them again about my study and the reason they had been invited to participate in the focus group. They were given equal opportunity to voice their opinions about media and PSB issues. However, I noticed that the participants who were teachers talked more than the others. It happened that one of the participants was a student at the school where those teachers were teaching. He was the quietest among the participants. His quietness


was understandable because usually in Cambodia students do not talk much in front of their teacher. That is one of the ways in which students show respect for their teachers. Voicing ideas different from or against their teachers is considered rude in Cambodian society. This could have been a drawback of this focus group. However, the focus group went well as everyone seemed to enjoy voicing their opinions about the current status of the broadcast media and how they would like the broadcast media to be in the future. The fourth and the final focus group was conducted at the Institute of Foreign Languages? (IFL) of the Royal University of Phnom Penh on June 17, 2008. After many failed attempts to invite ordinary people living in Phnom Penh to participate in the focus group, I went to IFL to conduct the focus group. Attempts to invite ordinary people to take part were unsuccessful because of time conflict. Those who volunteered to take part in the focus group had different work schedules. Consequently, I was not able to convene a meeting. Therefore, a focus group could not be conducted. Thus, I went to IFL in the afternoon and told the institute management about my study and that I wanted to conduct a focus group among their staff members, faculty members, and students. I also attempted to invite those who worked at the cafeteria of the institute, but they refused, saying that they had nothing to say much about the media, especially among academic people. Out of seven participants, four were females and three males, aged between 22 and 55 years old. One was a lecturer of Khmer Studies, two were English students, one was a security guard, one was a photocopy person, and two were administrative staff members. Not everyone in the focus group was an academic


although they were in an academic environment. They were not close friends either. A few of them did not even know each another. The focus group was conducted in a small conference room at the institute. At a rectangular table with a dozen cans of soft drinks placed in the middle, everyone sat and enjoyed the drinks. Using the same approach, although some of them knew me, I started by introducing myself and telling them the purpose of the focus group. I let them introduce themselves to the group and posed the set questions one by one. This was an interesting discussion because even though they worked at the same place, they had very different backgrounds and looked at the issue from different points of view. No problems emerged and everyone was eager for a chance to give their opinion. They did not interrupt each other, which made it easy for me to coordinate the discussion. I planned four focus groups prior to conducting the fieldwork. The plan was based on a preliminary study in 2007. Although I had initially planned for four focus groups, I would like to have conducted more. However, according to Krueger and Casey (2000), a researcher can decide to stop conducting further focus groups when saturation has been achieved. Since I did not hear anything new from the fourth group I decided to stop conducting further focus groups. Through both in-depth interviews and focus groups, I was able to interview a total of 68 participants, among whom 23 were females and 45 were males, with ages ranging from 17 to 70 years old. They were diverse in terms of age, education, gender, socioeconomic status, and political beliefs. Table 1, 2, and 3 and Figure 2 below illustrate the diversity of research informants.


Table 1 Age and Gender of Research Participants Gender Age 17-30 31-40 41-50 51-60 61-70 Total Male 6 6 13 13 7 45 Female 15 2 2 2 2 23 Total 21 8 15 15 9 68 % 31 12 22 22 13 100

Table 2 Gender and Education of Research Participants Gender ____________________________________ Male Female Total %

Education Below High School High School Diploma Post High School Diploma Undergraduate Degree Graduate Degree Total

7 10 5 18 5 45

4 10 3 5 1 23

11 20 8 23 6 68

16 29 12 34 9 100


Table 3 Gender and Social Status of Research Participant Gender ____________________________________ Male Female Total % 11 19 1 14 45 2 4 1 16 23 13 23 2 30 68 19 34 3 44 100

Social Status Politicians Professionals Academics Ordinary Citizens Total

In addition to tables 1, 2, and 3, Figure 2 below illustrates more specifically that the informants were ordinary citizens, politicians, representatives of civil society groups, representatives of foreign governments, representatives of international organizations, media academics, representatives of media associations, media professionals, representatives of international media, a representative of independent media, representatives of pro-ruling party media, a representative of opposition media, and a representative of the Royal Palace.


Ruling Party CPP (4) 6% Opposition Media (1) 1% Independent Media (1)1%

Opposition Parties (5) 7%

Royal Palace (1) 2%

CPP Media (6) 9% International Media (2) 3%

Ordinary Citizens (30) 44%

Media Professionals (8) 12%

Media Association (2) Media 3% Academic International Organization (2) (2) 3% 3%

International Government (2)3%

Civil Society (2)3%

Total = 68 (M 45, F 23) Figure 2: Research Participants Broken Down in Percentage

Data Analysis Inductive analysis of data is usually used in qualitative research to find emerging critical themes (Patton, 1990). Raw data are categorized logically and meaningfully so that they can be examined systematically and their interpretation can be communicated to others (Hoepfl, 1997). This method of analyzing data is confirmed by Lindlof and Taylor (2002) who said that qualitative researchers depend on categorization and coding to make sense of qualitative data. By categorization, they mean process of characterizing the the meaning of a unit of data with respect to certain generic properties. (p. 214). According 80

to Spiggle (1994), essence of categorization is identifying a chunk or unit of data The (e.g. a passage of text of any length) as belonging to, representing, or being an example of some more general phenomenon (p.493). This requires categorization of data is to into group concepts, constructs, and themes that are similar together (Lindlof & Taylor, 2002). In addition, data analysis is the process of labeling and breaking down raw data and reconstituting them into patterns, themes, concepts, and propositions (Lindlof & Taylor, 2002, p. 210). Sometimes researchers organize their data based on criteria suggested by previous studies (Lindlof & Taylor, 2002). In this study, I grouped field Political Circumstances, Economic data into six main categories, namely Conditions, Civil Society, Socio-Cultural Compatibilities, all of which were suggested by previous studies as influential factors to PSB systems, and Organizational Structure, and Financial Scheme, which emerged from primary data. Furthermore, I purposely grouped the data in order to answer the research questions posed in chapter I. The first four categories, po litical circumstances, economic conditions, civil society, and socio-cultural compatibilities, helped answer the first research question, based on current political circumstances, economic conditions, socio-cultural factors, and civil society situations, can a PSB system be designed for Cambodia? They also partly answer the second research question, w hat should the institutional organizational structure of a PSB system be to keep it free from political and commercial interference, but capable to successfully fulfill its mission? This question was answered by other sets of data, organizational structure, and financial scheme, which also answered the third and the fourth research questions,


what sources of funding are possibly available to support and sustain a PSB system without any influences on it so that it can be a neutral institution that serves the interests of the entire population? and should PSB programs be produced and funded so how that they are not under political and commercial influences? Under political circumstances I found two major subcategories: direct and indirect control and law and regulation. Under the subcategory direct control, I analyzed data based on CPP and government, opposition parties, station representatives, media professionals, ordinary citizens and independent observers. Likewise, under the subcategory and regulations, I analyzed data based on CPP and government, law opposition parties, station representatives, media professionals, independent observers and licenses. These are illustrated in Chapter 4. Economic Conditions, Civil Society, and Socio-Cultural Compatibility are illustrated in Chapter 5 of the study. Under Economic Conditions I analyzed data based on subcategories: national economy, broadcast media economy, and peoples living standards. Under Civil Society I analyzed data based on several subcategories: local civil society groups, and potential donors. And under Socio-Cultural Compatibility I analyzed data based on other subcategories: social structure, participatory culture, and publics attitudes toward broadcast media. Data Organization Process. I was fortunate to have DC-Cam staff members help in transcribing most of the interviews, especially those in the Khmer language. I transcribed those interviews into English. Most of the interviews in Khmer were transcribed immediately after the


interviews were conducted by my research assistant and the remaining interviews were transcribed by other DC-Cam staff members. For the data from in-depth face-to-face interviews and focus groups, at first I used different color highlighters to code interview transcripts based on the categories mentioned earlier. For example, I used orange for Political Circumstances, blue for Economic Conditions, green for Civil Society, yellow for Socio-Cultural Compliance, pink for Organizational Structure, and red for Financial Schemes. After I had coded about ten transcripts of the interviews, I started to be confused and to be overwhelmed when I saw those transcripts spread around in my bedroom floor. I then changed my strategy. I used a table in Microsoft Word to categorize my data. I divided the table into four columns, Bg rd, #, Cat, and Data. In the header row, I use Bgrd for background of respondents so that I knew who he/she was. Instead of using names, I used to label each respondent. The number of the informants corresponds # with the names in the list of research participants so that I could refer to these whenever I wanted or when I did not remember who the respondent was. I used Cat. for data categories. In the Cat. column, I used PoL for Political Circumstances, Eco for Economic Conditions, CSo for Civil Society, SCC for Socio-Cultural Compatibility, Ost for Organizational Structure, and FSc for Financial Schemes (See Figure 3 below for an example of how data were organized). Data from in-depth interviews and focus groups were entered into the data column based on their categories. After all data were entered, I sorted them based on categories. I then printed them out and read them carefully to look for other emerging themes and did the data analysis, which is


illustrated in Chapters 4 and 5. Some of the data were included in Chapter 6 as part of the recommendation regarding an applicable model for the future PSB system in Cambodia. By using a table created in Microsoft Word, I was able to sort out data and easily find any pieces of information I was looking for. This was much easier than highlighting approach tried earlier. Table 4 below is an example of how the tables were created.

Table 4 Data of Fieldwork Interviews Bgrd POL/CPP # 3 Cat. CSo Data European Community, CIDA Canada, UNDP, IMF, World Bank, ADB, other organizations, and political parties will be invited for the discussion on lawmaking. POL/CPP 3 Eco Developing countries such as Cambodia face financial challenges. State must have reserve budget to subsidize broadcasting system. People can also contribute. POL/CPP 3 FSc People should make contributions to broadcasting via electric or water bills. POL/CPP 3 Ost A member of the board of directors should be appointed by the government, and the government should appoint a director general. Decisions must be made based on the majority of members.


Table 4 Continued POL/CPP 3 PoL Broadcasting was created by state, which abides by the constitution. State gives license to private company to operate broadcasting stations which are under the control of the Ministry of Information. The government should be open so that the information can flow out easily without problems to average citizens, and average citizens should be able to inform the government so that the government is able to deal with problems effectively and efficiently. Concerning the political influence on broadcasting, it is normal that God assigns his man to do the job. That person must side God. (not sure what God means) POL/CPP 3 SCC People might think it is complicated, but it is not really because human beings evolve, culture evolves accordingly, and so does the country. Thus, I think there will be no conflict with our culture. It all depends on how we organize it so that it complies with our cultural attributes. All social aspects need to be taken into consideration before making the PSB system a reality, she said.


Limitations and Exclusions Due to time and funding constraints, I was not able to recruit participants for focus groups as I would have liked. The participants were recruited on the spot. I had only a few days in the regions where the focus groups were conducted. In addition, I should have allocated enough time to talk to local authorities, civil society groups, and opinion leaders in the regions to find out their perspectives and the need of PSB in their regions. This also could not be done due to time and budget constraints. Another limitation is that all interviews should have been transcribed either by me or my research assistant, who conducted the interviews. Many of them were transcribed by third parties, who were not familiar with the context. Consequently, some transcripts were not understandable. I had to spent time cross checking those which were not clear. In addition to limitation in methodology, there are several other limitations in this study. First of all, research informants had limited knowledge about PSB. Most of them mistakenly thought that TVK and NRK were PSB. Because of their limited knowledge, they might not have a clear understanding about what sort of media system they preferred. Although they were given a briefing on PSB, they might still have expressed their views based on their experience with the existing media system. Some policymakers who were informants of this study said Cambodia already has public broadcasting (they were referring to TVK and NRK), and questioned why another type of public broadcasting was needed. Secondly, informants were politically sensitive. The study was conducted during the national election campaign. Some informants were afraid of giving opinions although I explained the purpose of this study. Some might have thought that I was from a


particular political party and was asking them for their opinions about the issue so that the party could use this for its political platform in the election campaign. Therefore, they might not have given frank opinions. Thirdly, I planned to invite participants, especially those in the capital, to get together after the in-depth personal interviews had been done, to further discuss the PSB issue. However, because of time and resource limitations, I was unable to do this. That would have provided additional inputs for the study and would have made it possible for participants to better understand the PSB concept. Fourthly, because of resource and time limitation, the informants were recruited only in cities and provincial towns, so they might not represent the views of the overall population. Fifthly, I planned to request a meeting with the King, who could play an important role in possible future establishment of a PSB system, to present the concept of PSB and request his opinion about introduction of PSB to Cambodia. However, according Royal Palace and his cabinet, I requested the meeting at a time when he was too busy. One of his cabinet officials met with me instead, but he did not allow me to record the conversation but only take notes during the interview. Summary The methodology for this study has been presented in this chapter. This is purely qualitative research. The three main strategies employed for data collection were in-depth interviews, focus groups, and document analysis. In-depth interviews were conducted with policymakers, decision makers, government officials, a Royal Palace representative, executives, representatives of international NGOs, donor countries, local NGOs, civil


society groups, media professionals, representatives of broadcasters, media academics, executives and news editors of foreign PSBs, and other stakeholders. Focus groups were conducted with ordinary citizens in four regions of Cambodia, namely the Capital City Phnom Penh, the Northwestern Province of Siem Reap, the Northeastern Province of Stung Treng, and the Southwestern Province of Sihanoukville. In addition, data from primary materials collected from government agencies, international and local NGOs, media organizations, and other institutions were included. This chapter contains the discussion of (1) in-depth interview, focus groups and the analysis of documents, (2) samples and informants, samples for in-depth interviews and samples for focus groups, (3) preliminary study, and (4) data analysis and data organization process. In the following chapter, the first part of the report on the fieldwork is presented.


Chapter 4: Political Circumstances Introduction As stated in Chapter 3, I organized my fieldwork data based on four factors: political circumstances, economic conditions, civil society, and socio-cultural compatibility, which appear to be the main factors influencing the establishment of a PSB system. In this chapter, I discuss only political circumstances because this is a dominant consideration and the most important factor influencing the establishment of PSB in Cambodia. The other three factors will be addressed in Chapter 5. The fieldwork data indicated that Cambodian politics shapes Cambodias current broadcasting system. The interests of politicians from the ruling Cambodian Peoples Party (CPP) have driven the countrys broadcasting policy in a direction that benefits them politically. Based on face-to-face interview data, I found that the political environment in Cambodia was not yet conducive to creating a PSB system due to the strict control the CPP-ruling government had imposed for more than three decades. I found that the broadcast media had been influenced by politics through both direct government control and by the way in which law and regulations were made and licenses granted. Direct and Indirect Control Fieldwork data indicated that politics defined the media environment in Cambodia. Informants, including CPP members, acknowledged that the broadcast media were heavily controlled by the government and the CPP. In order to analyze the fieldwork data effectively, I categorized informants into six groups based on their views regarding political influences on broadcast media. The six groups were CPP and


government; representatives from opposition parties; broadcast station representatives; media professionals; ordinary citizens; and independent observers. While they all viewed broadcast media as being politically influenced, they had different explanations as to how and why this took place. CPP and government. All informants from CPP acknowledged the political influence on broadcast media, but they said this was normal, arguing that developed countries media were not purely politically independent either. Informant # 37, a senior CPP members and a senator, pointed out that Fox News in the United States leaned towards the Republican Party. Participant #3, a senior CPPs MP, who mistakenly thought National Television of Cambodia or Television Kampuchea (TVK) was a PSB system, said the broadcasting system in Cambodia was created by the government, in compliance with the 1993 national constitution, and since the government gave licenses to private companies for the establishment of broadcast stations, they had to be regulated by and under the control of the government through the Ministry of Information. He emphasized that God assigns if his man to do the job, that man must side with God. The Minister of Information is from CPP, so he must work for CPP (personal communication, June 10, 2008, authors translation). While informants from CPP acknowledged political influence on the media, they were aware that, in principle, broadcasters should be neutral. With this principle in mind, they said the government, as well as CPP, promoted media and freedom of expression, in accordance with the Constitution. They argued that broadcast media fully enjoyed freedom of expression. Informant #3 pointed out that many media outlets were allowed to


operate in Cambodia to provide a wide variety of programming for the population. During the Freedom Day seminar organized jointly by the Royal University of Phnom Penhs Department of Media and Communication (DMC) and UNESCO at the Phnom Penh Hotel on May 5, 2008, an Under Secretary of State for Information referenced the 2008 annual report of the Ministry of Information, which indicated that 327 newspapers, 129 magazines, 36 bulletins, 27 foreign newspapers, and 11 foreign news agencies and foreign TV organizations were operating in Cambodia in 2008. According to the Ministry of Information (2008), Cambodia has 68 radio stations and radio relay stations, 63 cable television stations, and 37 TV and TV relay stations, including 1 government owned station, 2 government joint-venture stations, 4 commercial stations, 2 international relay stations, 7 government relay stations, and 21 commercial relay stations nationwide (p. 6). Therefore, they argued that 14 million Cambodian people had been enjoying information and entertainment provided by a large number of media outlets, through which, they said, the Cambodian people gained general knowledge and information within and outside their communities. They said broadcast media were useful propaganda machines for a country because they informed people about the social reality and government activities. In confirming this point, informant #3 said, Spea in the name of CPP, I king acknowledge the importance of broadcast media as it can provide information to people and state. Once our people are educated, our country will be developed accordingly (personal communication, June 10, 2008; authors translation). In addition, informants from CPP said the government gave full freedom to media practitioners, which was why the media sometimes insult the Prime Minister. They said that compared to neighboring countries, Cambodia had greater press freedom. They also


referred to Cambodias Reporters without Borders ranking. For instance, Reporters without Borders (2008) ranked Cambodia number 126 out of 173 countries as a country without freedom of expression in 2008, while Indonesia was ranked number 111, Thailand 124, Malaysia 132, the Philippines 139, Singapore 144, Laos 164, Vietnam 168 and Burma 170. For 2009 in particular, Reporters with Borders based its ranking solely on events between 1 September 2008 and 1 September 2009. It looked only at press freedom violations, not general human rights violations. To access the situation of press freedom in each country, Reporters without Borders prepared a questionnaire with 40 criteria, which included all kinds of violations directly affecting journalists (such as murders, imprisonment, physical attacks and threats) and news media (censorship, confiscation of newspaper issues, searches and harassment). And it includes the degree of impunity enjoyed by those responsible for these press freedom violations. (Reporters with Borders, 2009, p. 1). In addition, the questionnaire employed for the ranking takes account of the legal framework of the media, which includes pe nalties for press offences, the existence of a state monopoly for certain kinds of media and how the media are regulated) and the level of independence of the public media. It also reflects violations of the free flow of information on the Internet. (Reporters without Borders, 2009, p. 1). The questionnaire was distributed by Reporters with Borders partner organizations across five continents. Completed questionnaires from 175 countries were received. As a result, in 2009, according to Reporters without Borders (2009), Cambodias ranking improved to number 117 out of 175 countries, while Indonesia was ranked number 100, Thailand 130, the Philippines 122, Malaysia 131, Singapore 133, Brunei 155, Vietnam 166, Laos 169 and Burma 171. However, in the same year U.S.-


based Freedom House said Cambodias status declined from partly free to not free as a result of increased violence against journalists that occurred before the July election. In that year one opposition journalist was killed (Freedom House, 2009). Furthermore, they acknowledged that a few journalists had been arrested, but said the reason was personal, not political. They maintained that the Ministry of Information kept an eye on how broadcast media exercised their freedom as part of regulating the countrys media so that they did not broadcast anything the government viewed as harmful to national security. Besides jail terms and fines, punishment had included revoking licenses; informant #16, a CPPs central committee member, stated that since the licenses were granted by the government, the government could also revoke them. Informants from the CPP acknowledged the importance of impartial and unbiased broadcast programming, but they suggested that unbiased programming could not be produced in the current situation. Informant #16 said the government would ask the Ministry of Information to determine whether the Ministry would be capable of commencing such an independent broadcast station as PSB under present circumstances. In response, he said the Ministry of Information was not capable of preventing chaotic situations that might result from broadcast media reports if they were given too much freedom because media professionalism had not yet reached a minimum acceptable standard that would ensure professional and high quality programming. According to informant #16, it was important to remember that Cambodia had just emerged from years of civil wars and was politically sensitive. However, he said greater press freedom would be possible when Cambodians were more politically mature.


In regard to the establishment of PSB, informant #37, a senator from the CPP, said all government officials wanted their country to catch up with the developed world; hence, it was not a question of wanting to have a PSB system, but a matter of having a suitable political environment. Without political stability, she said, one would not know what might happen. She said we have passed the road with a lot of holes, and we are now on the bumpy road without many holes. The smooth, concrete road is ahead of us. What happens in Cambodia is unpredictable. For instance, nobody ever expected Cambodia to fall into a genocide regime, and when Cambodia was in that darkest era, nobody thought that it could get out. Therefore, we need to be careful and we dont want anything to accidentally happen again. We dont want to repeat it (personal communication, May 8, 2008, authors translation). Informants from CPP said that controlling broadcast media was not the intention of the government. They acknowledged that in Cambodia, it was typical that whoever in power influenced the media. They viewed political influence on broadcast media as normal because the regulator normally had the power to require the media to abide by state laws and regulations. They said the broadcast media were thus influenced by the state and that Cambodia was not alone in having a politically biased media. Opposition parties. Unlike the CPP and the government, opposition parties strongly recommended that the entire media system, including broadcast media, be fundamentally reformed. I discovered that 100 percent of informants from opposition parties supported the creation of a PSB system in Cambodia and promised to establish one if they were elected to


power. Fieldwork data indicated that opposition parties, which had been the victims of the current broadcast media system for decades, had insisted on completely changing the current media system so that every political party could have equal access to broadcast media in order to promote fair competition in elections. Informants from opposition parties said that to reform the media, the first step was to eliminate the Ministry of Information; they said they would do this because the Ministry of Information existed only for the purpose of controlling and censoring the media, which was the main factor restricting the freedom of expression and press. They said that when the Ministry of Information was eliminated, an independent agency would be created to regulate media. Based on fieldwork data, opposition parties raised two main concerns related to political influence on broadcast media. Their two concerns were total control of the media by the CPP dominated government and the limitation of freedom of press and expression. For instance, informant #13, a top official of the Human Rights Party (HRP), said HRP knew that 100 percent of TV stations and almost all radio stations were under the control of CPP. HRP had also witnessed the use of broadcast media by the CPP as propaganda tools and as mechanisms for attacking opposition parties. He said the CPP had too much freedom and too much access to broadcast media while other parties did not have much freedom. Thus, if HRP won the election, he said, HRP would develop a broadcasting system that served public and not political interests because an HRP government does not intend to hold power forever, and it is imperative to create a system that benefit everyone, especially later generations. Therefore, if we win the election, we will make the dream of a PSB system a reality (personal communication, June 6, 2008, authors translation).


Although the National United Front for an Independent, Neutral, Peaceful, and Cooperative Cambodia (FUNCINPEC) party was a partner in a coalition government with the CPP for three terms, informant #14, one of the leaders of FUNCINPEC party, acknowledged that the broadcasting system in Cambodia was under government influence, which was something he did not like. Because the government strictly controlled broadcast media, he said he was pessimistic about the possibility of creating a PSB system in the current environment, saying hope to have PSB in Cambodia at the this moment is very slim (personal communication, June 7, 2008, authors translation). This concern was also raised by the Norodom Ranaridh Party (NRP), another opposition party that spilt from FUNCIPEC because of internal conflicts. Prince Norodom Ranaridh, who led the FUNCINPEC Party in joining CPP to form the government, resigned as President of the National Assembly after a bitter conflict within the FUNCIPEC party, which resulted in the split of FUNCIPEC and the formation of a new party under his name. Informant # 21, an NRP representative, said balanced information, and information reflecting social issues, was difficult for people to receive because both state and private broadcasters were under the control of the CPP. He commented that inf ormation is like oxygen. A right decision can only be made based on accurate information. If people could access unbiased information and knew what the government was doing they would no longer support the government and the CPP. NRP could buy airtime only from FM 105, but not have any other broadcasting outlets due to their political affiliation with the government and the CPP. In this regard, informant #32, a lawmaker from Sam Rainsy Party (SRP), the biggest opposition party in Cambodia, said broadcasters in Cambodia acted as


propaganda machines, carried over from the Communist times. This kind of system was created to brainwash audiences, not to provide information. He stressed that it had been biased and politically influenced for decades, which misled the people and was dangerous for the country. Informant #20, another lawmaker from SRP, said Cambodia lacked independent media, which she said they were a fundamental pillar of democracy because they helped build an informed society. She said Cambodian society loses a great deal while the government restricts a fundamental pillar of democracy. If the SRP wins the election, we will give full freedom of expression. We will provide an opportunity to establish a PSB system, and we will allocate necessary budget resources for PSB. We must change the whole system (personal communication, June 13, 2008; authors translation). Related to this point, informant #32 said that in order to create a PSB system it was necessary to pass a law that made the PSB system independent from the government; the policy had to clarify the role of PSB and the purpose of its existence. Having a broadcasting board of governors and a board of directors was important for the future of PSB; and staff members had to possess the skills to implement this project based on direction from the politically independent boards. Fieldwork data indicated that all four main opposition parties agreed that the broadcasting system was under strict control of the government and the CPP. The opposition parties wanted to have the system reformed holistically and said PSB would be created if they led the government. The Ministry of Information would be eliminated and a National Board of Communications would be created to oversee broadcast media operations in Cambodia. All informants from opposition parties said their approach to


creating a PSB was to develop a new PSB system rather than transforming the existing TVK into PSB; TVK would be kept as a state mouthpiece. Station representatives. I found that almost all informants who were representatives of local broadcast media organizations supported the government policy on media. The majority of broadcasting station representatives, except those from FM105 and FM102, when asked about political influences on broadcasting organizations, simply said broadcast media had to abide by the countrys laws and regulations. For example, informant #1, a representative of TV3, said his station did not have political tendencies, but it had to follow governments orders because TV3s market was in Cambodia. Informant #9 of TVK had the same view on this issue, saying that the Cambodian broadcasting system was politically influenced because it was under the government umbrella and monitored by the government. He said usually broadcasting station management officials respected people in power. He added that they could not criticize the government while they were subject to government regulations. With regard to monitoring broadcast media organizations, informant #30, a representative of CPP-owned Apsara TV and radio, said the Ministry of Information had an audio-visual department that closely oversaw broadcasting activities. The department questioned broadcasters whenever its management thought their programs were not appropriate. He said programs considered inappropriate were those which went against Cambodian social norms, cultures, customs, and national security. Some informants said that broadcasting the activities of elected officials did not mean they were politically biased, but they were reporting their achievements and praising their hard work. They said the reasons the broadcasters did not


report the activities of opposition party officials was because those officials had not done anything worthy of being broadcast. Informant # 12, another TVK representative, said he understood the importance of independent broadcasting, but TVK had to be careful with what it broadcast because the Ministry of Information, Council of Ministers, and Prime Ministers cabinet might think that TVK was fighting for autonomy if it broadcast independent programs. Those people might not understand the importance of independence in media profession. He said he had never discussed the independence of broadcasting with any government political appointees, but he was willing to discuss it with me because it might be useful for my research. However, informant #18 of FM 105, who has been working in Cambodia since 1993, said Cambodian government did not want the truth to reach ordinary citizens. He complained that the government allowed broadcasting stations that supported them to establish relay stations in the provinces, but stations that did not support the government were not allowed to do this. He said Cambodia is 100% communist, but communist in the 21st century, not in 1950 (personal communication, June 5, 2008, authors translation). He added Cambodia had a king, but the king did not have power as the Thai King did, and the Cambodian government was very tricky in its dealings with the broadcast media. Media professionals. I found that media professional informants acknowledged the political influence on media, especially broadcast media. A majority of media professional informants commented that Cambodia had a large number of broadcasting organizations compared


to its relatively small population. However, if one paid attention to the quality of programming and the environment in which the broadcast media worked, it was easy to understand why Cambodias local broadcast media could not avoid political bias. They said the government had a systematic mechanism for controlling broadcasting organizations. The government was very careful with radio and TV but was more lenient with print media because of the countrys high illiteracy rate and the limited availability of print media in many provinces. They said every TV station was undoubtedly politically influenced by the CPP. For instance, informant #17 a VOA reporter said, TV9 originally belonged to FUNCINPEC member Khun Hang, a French Cambodian, who became Minister of Cults and Religion after he defected to the CPP. With his relatives, he operated a TV and radio business to support the FUNCINPEC, but in late 1997, his TV and radio operations were closed down for a while. He then re-opened them with Prime Minister Hun Sen joining in the business. Informant #17 confirmed that Prime Minister Hun Sen himself said that he had shares in TV9. Informant #17 added that TV Bayon and Radio Bayon belonged to Hun Sen and were directed by one of Hun Sens daughters. He said directors of some TV and radio stations were Hun Sens advisers. In addition, informant # 28, a Cambodian professional correspondent for an international news agency, said managers of broadcasting stations understood the professional standards for their field, but they listened to the political parties for whom they worked. He added that everywhere Cambodian political appointees went, they had media people with them to cover their activities. Hence, often times, these political appointees received favorable reports despite the irregularities and scandals in which they were involved. This was done in exchange for either financial compensation, or close association with the political


appointees, or both. He said he was dis appointed with the news that was broadcast because it covered only the activities of CPP officials handing out gifts or other government functions (personal communication, June 10, 2008; authors translation). Furthermore, media professional informants acknowledged that a lack of financial resources also made media vulnerable to political influence. For instance, informant # 25, editor in chief of a prominent Cambodian newspaper, said if inner media circles were examined, one would see clearly that all media organizations were facing financial difficulty, which made them vulnerable to corruption and political influence. He said even his own media organization had never paid taxes and nobody dared to audit or investigate. Also, its reporters had been underpaid. According to Khieu Kanharith, Minister of Information, the average salary of reporters in Cambodia ranged from $50 to $250 (personal communication, April 14, 2011), and informant # 25 acknowledged that because of this, reporters salaries cannot meet their day-to-day expenses. Because of this situation, some of his reporters worked for many news agencies. The same report was often submitted to several different news agencies for financial compensation, but sometimes he just had to close his eyes to what was going on. He said this situation was normal, so he was not surprised that reporters wrote positive reports about political elites in exchange for financial compensation. In this regard, LICADHO (2008) said if we look beyond just the quantity of newspapers and magazines, and listen to journalists and editors describe their working environment, we find a media closely controlled by politics, money, and fear (p. i). In addition, media professional informants said that regardless of the number of media outlets in Cambodia, media practitioners were not given freedom to write and to


broadcast. Informant #2, a media professional working for an international organization, said that freedom of expression and press were obviously limited. After noting that government officials had said people, including the news media, had been enjoying freedoms accorded by the government, informant #2, with an air of frustration, said how can the government say we are enjoying freedom of expression and access to information while broadcast coverage is limited and print media coverage is even more limited because it is too costly for the poor in the countryside, who are the majority? Internet access is even worse due to limited availability and TV stations are government owned or government affiliates (personal communication, June 17, 2008; authors translation). Media professional informants were pessimistic about the establishment of PSB. They said the PSB system could not be established in an environment where journalists and media practitioners were vulnerable to corruption, lived under threat and were afraid, and where media organizations were fully controlled by the government. They said that broadcasting laws had to be in place and properly implemented in order for PSB to become a reality. Although limited professionalism and human capital were also factors preventing Cambodia from establishing PSB, according to media professional informants, a lack of freedom of press and expression was the main issue. For instance, informant #26, a Cambodian media professional working for an international government delegation, said all TV stations were under political influence; therefore, in contemporary Cambodia, the political will for the establishment of a PSB system was nonexistent. Similarly, informant #28 said that so long as there was an undemocratic political system in the country and the media environment remained controlled, it would be hard


to establish a PSB system. He said a faade democracy, nepotism, and a patronage system were practiced in Cambodia, which made prerequisites for a PSB system impossible. He said so long as the same political appointees still led the country, there would not be an opportunity to establish a PSB system in Cambodia. Media professional informants suggested three points for consideration. First, the Press Associations had to unite and hold a meeting to discuss this issue and draft a proposal to put pressure on the government. Second, the Ministry of Information and members of parliament, regardless of party affiliation, had to have the political will to raise this idea and draft a broadcast bill, including a PSB act. Third, it was necessary to educate people and create a critical mass who knew the subject well and could put pressure on the government. With regards to the establishment of a PSB system in Cambodia, a majority of media professionals recommended a new broadcast outlet rather than transformation of TVK. They said transformation would allow continuation of the old working culture, management, and other challenges in the new organization. They said if this were to happen, the new PSB would change in name only. It would face the same problems and not able to operate independently from political influence. Ordinary citizens. Based on face-to-face interviews with four groups of ordinary citizens in four regions of the country, I found that the majority of ordinary citizens viewed the Cambodian broadcasting system as not independent from political influence. For instance, a informant from Siem Reap Province said


local broadcasters report nothing but government the activities of government officials. I like VOA or RFA for objective, unbiased news. VOA and RFA provide more coverage of social issues and sensitive issues such as corruption, which is not available on local broadcasting programs. By listening to their programs, I know who is good, who is bad, who has done good for the country and who has been destroying the country. Local broadcasters cannot broadcast such sensitive political messages (personal communication, May 11, 2008; authors translation). Ordinary citizen informants said the broadcasting system in Cambodia needed to be fundamentally reformed. One of the informants in group #4 from Phnom Penh said news on local broadcasting channels was not transparent and not impartial. Despite the considerable number of broadcasting media outlets, ordinary citizen informants said that because broadcast media supported the government, opposition parties and civil society groups could not get access to broadcasting outlets. Many ordinary citizen informants cited FM 105 and FM 102 as radio stations that had tried to be independent of political influence, but FM 105 had limited coverage, and FM 102 was not courageous enough to sell its airtime to opposition parties. However, both stations relayed VOA and RFA programs, which helped them gain more popularity among news listeners. According to InterMedia (2008) Figure 3 shows that among the six international broadcasters in Khmer language, VOA and RFA are most popular. The international broadcasters were the main source for news on sensitive subjects because, according to a majority of informants, these issues could not be covered by local broadcast outlets for security reasons, including possible closure, and because the majority of broadcasters either belonged to or


were associated with the CPP. Ordinary citizen informants said most Cambodian local TVs, instead of allowing opposition parties to buy airtime, broadcast CPP officials activities and allowed CPP to use their facilities and airtimes to broadcast their speeches and their activities, as well as to attack opposition parties.

45% 40% 35% 30% 25% 20% 15% 10% 5% 0%





4.70% 0.60%

Voice of Radio Free Asia Radio Australia America (VOA (RFA Khmer) in Khmer Khmer)

Voice of Vietnam in Khmer

Radio France International (RFI Khmer)

China Radio International (CRI Khmer)

Base: n=2,000, adults (15+) in Cambodia, September 2008 Figure 3: Annual Reach of Main International Broadcasters in Khmer (InterMedia, 2008, p. 13)

Figure 4 below shows that radio is still the main source of news among Cambodians. Informants said radio was the most popular because it was the most accessible, cost effective, and convenient. One informant from Siem Reap Province said he usually listened to the radio while he was working. He said he used two AA batteries for his small radio headset, and it took about a month or so before he changed the batteries. He added that his radio was on for news from VOA or RFA, and he rarely 105

listened to news broadcasts by local radio stations because they broadcast nothing but propaganda.

70% 60% 50% 40% 30% 20% 10% 0%









Base: n=2,000, adults (15+) in Cambodia, September 2008 Figure 4: Media Use Frequency for News on Weekly Basis (InterMedia, 2008, p. 13)

Before I asked informants for their opinions on the possibility of creating a PSB system in Cambodia, I introduced the PSB concept and its practices in a number of other countries, including Great Britains BBC, Japans NHK, South Africas SABC, National Public Radio (NPR) in the United States, and Thailands Thai PBS. Ordinary citizens were very supportive of creating a PSB system in Cambodia, and some were even surprised that such PSB systems actually exist in the world, saying that if they could be created elsewhere, why not in Cambodia? Due to political influences on the media, ordinary citizen informants felt a need for an independent broadcasting system like PSB. Since the PSB concept had never been introduced to Cambodia, it was not widely known. Ordinary citizen informants said they would like to have an independent, neutral 106

broadcast organization, which would be able to bring unbiased, impartial and objective news to Cambodia. One of the informants in group #4 from Phnom Penh said an independent media that is capable of broadcasting true and socially reflective information and news should be in place so that we are aware of what really happens in our community and around the world. We are fed up with all these good things about the government (personal communication, June 17, 2008; authors translation). Informants in group #7 from Steung Treng Province said news was important for people in their area. Because of limited access to news and information from other types of media, broadcast media, although still limited, played an important role in bringing news to their area. They said that information helped audiences with decision making and that the quality of news was important. Therefore, Cambodia needed independent broadcast media that did not depend on political parties for survival. One of the informants in group #7 said, based on the PSB systems I had introduced, countries that practice real democracy have independent broadcasting outlets, and Cambodia has never had any, not even one. And we need one (personal communication, May 31, 2008, authors translation). When asked about what kind of broadcasting programs they want, most ordinary citizen informants said they needed programs related to agriculture, education, healthcare, economy, and local and international news. They complained that the current broadcasting programs did not cover issues in these areas. Most of the programs were either entertainment programs to attract audience and sell advertisements or political


programs that served the CPP and the government. They said the PSB system that I had introduced was what they wanted. Independent observers. Based on field work data, I found that independent observers, including civil society groups, international not-for-profit organizations, and international government agencies, viewed Cambodian broadcast media to be politically controlled and lacking in freedom. A local not-for-profit organization, the Cambodian League for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights (LICADHO) in 2007 conducted a survey of 150 working journalists on the media environment in Cambodia. Based on this survey, LICADHO in 2008 issued a report, Reading between the lines: How politics, money & fear control Cambodias media. In the report, LICADHO (2008) pointed out that Cambodian working journalists labored under conditions of political threat and fear. Among 150 working journalists who LICADHO interviewed, 65 percent were afraid of being physically attacked, 62 percent feared of legal action and 54 percent had been threatened with physical harm or legal action (LICADHO, 2008, p. ii). According to LICADHO (2008), at least nine working journalists were murdered because of their reporting on sensitive issues since 1993 (p. ii). Not one of their murderers had been found and brought to justice. Informant #27 of LICADHO viewed Cambodia as a country with no press freedom because of a variety of threats that targeted journalists. When journalists worked in conditions of corruption, poverty, or fear, according to International Federation for Journalists (2006), there could be no freedom of press and expression. Informants from civil society groups said that because of political influence on the broadcast media, Cambodian broadcast programming was unattractive. The majority of


independent observer informants said broadcast media programming included nothing but low quality entertainment such as call-in karaoke and political propaganda features, such as fund-raising by CPP officials. They said that instead of providing news, entertainment, and education, broadcast media had been provoking fights among political parties. In addition, international organizations and potential donors who participated in this study acknowledged that politics strongly influenced broadcast media in Cambodia. As outsiders who have worked with the government for years, they said that in Cambodia, political power was like a magic force that could work miracles. With regard to freedom of expression and press, international organizations and international government agency representatives acknowledged that freedom of expression had improved somewhat because international broadcasters, such as VOA, RFA, and NGO programs were now broadcast on local radio. They said few local radio organizations sold their airtime to political parties. Informant #29, a representative of the Delegation of the European Commission to Cambodia, said it was incredible, and not by chance, that Cambodia was considered one of the freest countries in the ASEAN community in terms press freedom. He said is kind of what I mean when you see this this thing, as a foreigner. I noticed that there is a variety of information and freedom of press but even so broadcast media were heavily politically influenced and biased (personal communication, June 3, 2008). Informant #29 recalled the Prime Ministers words during the 2008 election campaign, responding to a critical, political message by an opposition party on the radio. Hun Sen said one of the opposition parties bought radio airtime one hour per week to criticize the government and the CPP. Then he added well your strategy is just on one radio, I will air my speeches on all my radio and TV


throughout the country. The informant said the CPP and the government had too much access to media, while opposition parties had very little. Independent observer informants said Cambodia was a poor country without politically independent broadcast media. Informant #29 emphasized that the poorer the country, the more important it was to have public broadcasting because poor countries like Cambodia would certainly have many illiterate people. He said he could see that Cambodian people thirsted for learning, especially the new generation, who wanted to know about what was happening beyond the borders of the country. He said it would be important for the people to have the opportunity to see and to hear what was being done in other parts of the world. Most independent observer informants said that broadcast media, especially television, sided with the government and the CPP. They said broadcast media acted as propaganda machines, which had been carried over from the Communist time. Informant #39, a representative of the Konrad Adenauer Foundation (KAF), emphasized that this kind of system had been created to brainwash the audience, not to provide information and news. The majority of informants in this group said there was a great need for the Cambodian broadcasting system to be reformed immediately. Informant # 41, an international instructor at the DMC, said media has been biased and politically the influenced for decades, which misleads people; it is dangerous to the country (personal communication, May 22, 2008). She said broadcasting in Cambodia is political, and there is a big gap between what we want to do and what we are allowed to do (personal communication, May 22, 2008). She referred to a heated argument between international


media experts who taught at the DMC and DMC management over a decision to broadcast a number of radio documentaries produced by a group of students in DMCs broadcasting class. Students and instructors wanted the documentaries to be broadcast, but DMC management opposed, saying that the programs did not have balanced viewpoints, especially from the government. DMC management said the documentaries could be broadcast only if they did not mention that the radio programs were produced by DMC students or if they added more sources to balance the stories. However, informant #41 said DMC management was under political influence, saying that anything critical of the government could not be broadcast. She said I dont think this government wants to have independent broadcasting. I dont see it really. I can see the opposite. Any form of independent broadcasting is not realistic based on Cambodias political situation right now. However, its good that they allow us to teach here at DMC anyway even though they have limited our freedom (personal communication, May 22, 2008). In response to the possibility of the establishment of a PSB system in Cambodias political environment, independent observer informants said that based on Cambodias political sensitivity, PSB would not be possible anytime soon. They said historically, action could not be taken rapidly in Cambodia. They said the Cambodian political situation was much more complicated than that of the rest of the region, especially Indonesia and Thailand, where PSB had been introduced. They said media could be independent only if the people who implemented it were independent. It was hard to find independent people in Cambodia. They said even the National Election Committee, which was supposed to be independent, was not because it was led by politically biased


people, people who used to be members of CPP and were still under CPP sway. Informant #26 doubted that anyone independent in the media field could be found to do the job. However, she said although it will be difficult to make PSB completely independent from the outset, it is necessary to make efforts to start it and then make improvements along the away (personal communication, June 3, 2008, authors translation). Independent observer informants said the broadcast media had to be independent because it was the most powerful means of providing information to everyone in the society. They said access to true information was a fundamental right of society members. Without full access to information and without freedom of press and expression, there was clearly an absence of democracy. According to informant #27 of LICADHO, the government used court and imprisonment to threaten freedom of expression. The government used the penal code to punish media practitioners who criticized the government. For example, Hang Chackra, a publisher and editor-in-chief of a local newspaper, was arrested, jailed, and fined about $2,250 in 2009 on charges of disinformation and dishonoring government officials. She said any form of threat to media negatively impacted democracy. In regard to the establishment of a PSB system in Cambodia, independent observer informants said the governments political will was necessary. For the time being, the Cambodian political situation was not mature enough for the government to accept criticism. Informant #39 of KAF, which is one of the major funders of the Cambodian governments projects related to decentralization, democracy, laws and regulations, and media education, said the Cambodian political situation was still far from


the possibility of establishing any kind of independent media organization. Informant #34, a representative of UNESCO, which is also one of the biggest donors in media education, also expressed the impossibility of creating PSB in the current Cambodian political climate. Informant #34 said there was still a long way to go for the PSB concept to be realized by policymakers and citizens in Cambodia. He added that the PSB system was based on objective, impartial, and unbiased information. These vital elements, according to informant #34, were nonexistent in Cambodia. He said political conditions for an independent, free flow of information in Cambodian society were completely absent. They do not do things to serve the public interest and for the public good, but for their political gain and their own political party (personal communication, May 3, 2008). The majority of independent observer informants said that developing a politically independent PSB system like NHK, BBC, and SABC was not possible in Cambodia, at least at the moment. They said this was in part due to the fact that the Cambodian leadership was clearly not open to public opinion. They said the Cambodian leader thought everything belonged to him, that it had to be in his hands. They pointed out that some broadcast media organizations, such as the Cambodian TV network (CTN), were impartial and unbiased at the beginning but became government mouthpieces after operating for a while. Once broadcasting owners knew government officials personally, they became friends, and they could not be critical of their friends. They said sometimes oppressive situations pushed people to be biased. All informants in this category said the introduction of the PSB system to Cambodia was a good idea because it would reduce the chance of radio stations being


close to one political party, which had ruled the country for decades. They said that for smaller political parties, it was advantageous to have more balanced broadcast programming. Informant #39 said that in order to establish PSB, a lengthy political debate would probably be required. It could not be decided quickly because financial interests were involved. Informant #39 said where money interest is involved, it always takes a consensus to reach a compromise, and to build this consensus, it would probably take a relatively long time, but I think its worth trying; its worth starting the debate. If you think its a worthy debate, why should you be afraid to bring it up? And why should you be worried when theres somebody, who doesnt like it very much? If you think its worth it, why should you wait to bring the debate up? I think the days of being very careful to say something that powerful people might not like are coming to an end in Cambodia. This is not a very sensitive issue, but you should assume that some people might not like it. I think such a debate can be undertaken in Cambodia without a problem. I am sure the Ministry of Information would participate. I dont see anybody who refuses to participate on political debate in this country (personal communication, May 2, 2008). Independent observer informants said it would be possible to publicly talk about sensitive topics in Cambodia if the right approach was taken. Informant #40, a U.S. Ambassador to Cambodia, said that once Prime Minister Hun Sen could be criticized on the front page of English-language leading newspapers in Cambodia, there was no reason why debate on sensitive issue could not be possible in Cambodia. Informants acknowledged that debate about the creation of a PSB system in Cambodia could be


possible if it were done in a nonaggressive way, if it were done in order to come up with the right decision, and with a clear view of its goal. They said it was time to be a little bit less careful with so-called sensitivity. They strongly believed that in order to introduce a PSB system to Cambodia, debate about it had to be started. Opposing ideas about the creation of the PSB system were inevitable in a free, pluralistic society. They said some people had ideas that other people did not like. That was why we had political parties with different ideas and different interests. Informant #39 said if you have a certain interest, you have to fight to defend your interest; otherwise others would not be on your side. Your interest must be shared and represented in the society. If you have minority interests, you might also have a share of the minority representation in society. The majority will prevail (personal communication, May 2, 2008). Therefore, according to fieldwork data, I found that all informants, including informants from the CPP, government, and government affiliates, acknowledged that broadcast media were politically biased and served the government and the CPP. The majority of informants recommended that immediate, holistic reform had to be made to current broadcast media in Cambodia so that democracy could be fully practiced, people could be fully informed and fair political competition could be promoted. Law and Regulations A broadcasting law has not yet been enacted in Cambodia. According to informants, the absence of a broadcasting law and regulations makes it difficult for broadcast media operating in Cambodia to compete fairly. They said if a broadcasting law was in place, greater social responsibilities could be imposed on broadcasters.


Furthermore, in the absence of broadcasting law, the licensing issue is subjective and problematic because the criteria of issuing the licenses are not clear although the Ministry of Information said that applications for new broadcasting outlets had been rejected due to the fact that there were no more frequencies available for allocation and that new licenses would be given only when the broadcasting law was in place. In this regard, the majority of informants said this was just an excuse by the Ministry of Information because, according to informants, if the applicants had a tendency to support the government, the licenses were issued, but if they tended to support opposition parties or were independent, the licenses were not granted; the government used the excuse of not having frequencies. For example, while informant # 16 of the Minister of Information said the Ministry gave a license to the University of Cambodia (UC) as part of community radio establishment, the majority of informants said the reason the UC was given the license was because Kao Kim Hourn, the founder of the university was a member of the CPP and served as Secretary of State of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation. Many informants said licenses were given based on loyalty, trust, and association. For instance, informant #27 said many non-profit organizations applied for broadcast licenses, but their applications were turned down. She said that if the UC was given a broadcast license why would the Ministry of Information not give a license to an independent body such as Voice of Democracy (VOD)? Informants said licenses were passed from the first owners to the next and the next. The government strictly oversaw the business of trading broadcasting licenses. Most informants said that if the licenses were traded among government supporting


broadcasters it was ok, but if broadcast licenses were traded to independent organizations or opposition parties, the Ministry of Information banned them immediately. Informant #39 said that in order to close one loophole in its control of broadcast media, in February 2007, the Ministry of Information announced a ban on the trading or transferring of broadcast licenses, saying broadcasters who were not able to operate their broadcasting business must return the license to the Ministry of Information. Informant #39 said there has been an announcement that second-hand licenses would not be allowed anymore and if you buy a second-hand license, its not valid. However, in reality second-hand licenses are still sold and bought, and stations are being run with second-hand licenses even though it should not be the case according the statement of the Ministry of Information (personal communication, May 2, 2008). Many informants said broadcasting law needs to be in place in order to address controversial issues, such as granting new licenses, trading licenses, opening broadcasting business, programming, etc. In this regard, informant #9 said we need a broadcasting law. We need to reform the process of giving out broadcast licenses. We need a one-stop process for granting broadcast licenses. We should have a commission, composed of inter-ministerial officials to give out licenses. We dont have to go through the Ministry of Information and the Ministry of Telecommunication and Post for a broadcast license (personal communication, June 13, 2008, authors translation). Similar to the section on direct control above, I divided the fieldwork data in this section into five groups to present their varied opinions on broadcasting law and regulations in Cambodia. The five groups are the CPP and the government,


representatives from opposition parties, broadcast stations representatives, media professionals, and independent observers. CPP and government. The CPP and government informants said the government policy was the CPPs policy. They said they were concerned about possible unethical activities that might be carried out by media operating in Cambodia. For this reason, the government had enacted press laws to regulate media organizations. Most informants from the CPP and the government thought the press law was a media law that could be used to regulate both print and electronic media. When asked about a broadcasting law, most of the informants were surprised and asked why a broadcasting law was needed when Cambodia already had a press law. They said the press law could help regulate existing media and prevent the media from engaging in unethical activities. They said the government viewed ethics as a very important issue because many media outlets, especially print media, had been insulting government officials and leaders from time to time, which could harm Cambodian culture, tradition, and the spirit of national reconciliation. In a response to the absence of a broadcasting law, informant #19 of CPP and a representative of Cambodias TV association said the Ministry of Information is law. The government has decrees or sub-decrees. Those are temporary laws. Broadcasting law is the same as press law. Although we do not have broadcasting law, we have used government decrees or subdecrees. Those are laws (personal communication, May 23, 2008, authors translation).


In this regard, the Ministry of Information issued a series of directives signed by different Ministers of Information when they held the position. For example, On June 27, 1996, the Ministry of Information issued Directive on Audio-Visualization No. 645/96 P.M.B.S.M. signed and sealed by Ieng Moly who was then-Minister of Information. In this directive, the Ministry of Information supported the existing broadcast medias role to be actively involved in the restoration and reconstruction of the nation by broadcasting the governments achievements and policies on national reconciliation as well as preserving and safeguarding the national tradition and culture. The Ministry was concerned about what it called deficiencies of the radio and television outlets because their programs did not serve the public interest (Ministry of Information, 1996). The directive emphasized 10 main points, through which press freedom was clearly restricted. The 10 main points basically are (1) all broadcast stations shall broadcast news simultaneously at 7pm. The news shall cover such activities as those of King, National Assembly leaders, and government officials. Th broadcast of any news bulletin, which e has the characteristics to incite and instigate violence, chaos, or social instability, shall be avoided (2) Programs must focus on topics that provide the public with general knowledge, such as agriculture, health, technology, quiz shows, etc., but not simply entertainment. (3) National identity, culture, classical music, etc. must be promoted through broadcast programs. (4) Religious rituals and celebrations should be broadcast regularly. (5) No pornography-related materials shall be broadcast whatsoever and all types of movie violence shall be broadcast only after 11 pm. (6) Khmer-language program production shall be maximized. (7) Foreign products shall be dubbed or subtitled in Khmer and not exceed 20% of the total program schedule. (8) Commercials


carried by broadcast outlets shall not lie or mislead consumers. (9) Conversations alluding to sexual genitalia shall be prohibited. (10) All broadcasters shall play the national anthem at 7am. The directive stated that one month after its issuance, the Ministry of Information would take action to monitor the implementation of the directive. However, when I asked informants who were representatives of broadcast stations, they were unaware of the directive, saying that this directive was an old one and signed by a minister who was no longer in office. A few more directives were issued during the reign of Liu Lay Sreng as the Minister of Information. He belonged to the FUNCINPEC party, which had formed a coalition government with the CPP. Most of these directives were to follow up directive No. 645/96 P.M.B.S.M. issued in 1996 while Ieng Moly was the Information Minister. For instance, Directive No. 0037/99 PMSR issued on January 14, 1999, signed and sealed by Liu Lay Sreng, reinforced Directive No. 645/96 P.M.B.S.M., but added that the National Anthem must be broadcast twice at 7am and 5pm (Ministry of Information, 1999a). In addition, the directive also emphasized the restriction not to broadcast anything that was accompanied with any interpretation thereof, nor affecting the King, the policy of the Royal Government, security and social order, Khmer tradition and culture and no broadcasting shall be made of racial discrimination and antagonism against any religious belief. No commercial advertisement is allowed during and between the national and international news bulletins (Ministry of Information, 1999b, p. 1).


Following Directive No. 0037/99PMSR, the Ministry of Information issued a more comprehensive Guidelines for Media Broadcast for broadcast stations (Ministry of Information, 1999b). The guidelines focus on respect for human rights; respect for law and policies of the government; care for the youth; care for society and families; education, preservation, and development of culture; dissemination of information and responsibility; religion; consideration for expression of opinions; avoidance of violence and crimes; avoidance of all types of sexual penetration; and guidelines for commercial advertisement. This constituted a form of restriction of press freedom and content censorship. Directive No. 0181/99PMSR issued by the ministry on April 9, 1999, signed and sealed by Um Daravuth, Secretary of State for Information, targeted only cable television companies, prohibiting all kinds of foreign movies with content determined to have an adverse impact on what the directive called, social order. Article 2 of the Directive stated that upn receiving this Directive, any manager of the cable television o who fails to comply with this Directive will have their broadcasting ceased and their license withdrawn completely by the Ministry of Information (Ministry of Information, 1999c, p. 1). Another form of strict control and censorship was shown through letter No. 0181/99PM on September 27, 1999, signed and sealed by Minister of Information Liu Lay Sreng, to all directors general of television stations to warn them not to broadcast live anything either to or from overseas without permission from the Ministry of Information. In this letter, the ministry expressed its concern that some television stations live broadcasts had inappropriate programs sent to and from foreign countries and the programs could not carried except when authorized in writing in advance by the be


Ministry of Information (Ministry of Information, 1999d, p. 1). Informant #16 called it a responsibility of the ministry, but media professional informants called it a restriction of press freedom and censorship. The above Directives were supplemental to the 1995 Press Law. The government believed that they could use the 1995 Press Law to regulate both print and broadcast media operating in Cambodia. It is worth noting that the government used Articles 62 and 63 of the UNTAC law regarding disinformation and defamation to restrict freedom of expression, press, and publication. In addition to articles 62 and 63 of UNTAC law, the 1995 Press Law acted as a tool of the government to regulate and censor media content for security and political stability purposes. After the Press Law was passed, several media practitioners were jailed or threatened, and some were even killed. Criminal libel law was usually used to punish journalists, editors, and media employers for defamation. Both the UNTAC media guidelines and the 1995 Press Law were written for print media, not for broadcast media. Because a broadcasting law was not yet in place, the government used the 1995 press law to regulate broadcast media. When asked about the position of the CPP on enactment of a broadcasting law, all informants from the CPP acknowledged the importance of such a law, but they expressed concern that careful consideration should be undertaken because the Cambodian situation was not the same as those of other countries, including its neighbors. They said having a law was important, but the effectiveness of its implementation would be vital. Informant #3, a senior member of the CPP, said ha a law without effective implementation is ving like a professional-looking book without good content (personal communication, June 10, 2008, authors translation). Government and CPP informants said that in order to


regulate the media, the National Assembly adopted a press law. That law was drafted in accordance with the national constitution promulgated in 1993. Article 31 of the constitution addressed the peoples right to freedom of expression. Informant #3 said the right to freedom of expression was also mentioned in the Charter of the United Nations, of which Cambodia was a member; therefore, Cambodia had to follow it. He added that article 41 of the national constitution said the Cambodian people shall have freedom of expression, freedom of information, freedom of publication, and freedom of assembly. He acknowledged that law and law enforcement were not perfect. O bullet cannot ne shoot three rabbits at the same time, he said. have to do it step by step. We have a We Press Regime Law, and later we will adopt audio-visual law. In the fourth term of the CPP government, an audio-visual law will be put in place (personal communication, June 10, 2008, authors translation). The government and the CPP informants said the government was striving to manage and regulate the broadcasting system properly so that information was not manipulated. Informants from the CPP also acknowledged that a broadcasting law was necessary because it could outline the framework for the establishment of a PSB. Lawmakers from the CPP said a PSB act had to be enacted so that Cambodias newly established PSB system could be compatible with those in other civilized countries. They stressed that Cambodia did not have to wait to become a developed country to have a broadcasting law that meets international standards. This statement was corroborated by informant #16 who noted that Cambodia did not have a broadcasting law yet, but the Ministry of Information was getting ready to prepare one. He said the ministry intended to include commercial broadcasting, community broadcasting, and internet broadcasting in the new media law so that it would


be comprehensive in order to facilitate the development and advancement of information technology. Opposition parties. Informants from opposition parties were very critical of the absence of a broadcasting law. The absence of a broadcasting law contributed to the chaotic Cambodian broadcast media environment. Informants unanimously said a broadcasting law could set a legal framework for the PSB system to come into being in Cambodia. Informant #32, a lawmaker of the opposition SRP, agreed that the most fundamental step in creating a PSB system would be establishing a law that had the capacity to make the PSB system independent from government. He said the future broadcasting law had to include the establishment and operation of PSB in Cambodia; it also had to clearly stress that PSB cannot be housed under the Ministry of Information. Informants said a policy had to be set clearly about the role of PSB and the purpose of its existence. However, some doubted that the government had the political will to put in place a broadcasting law while they were enjoying the great advantages of the existing broadcast system. Station representatives. While the majority of informants considered a broadcasting law crucial for broadcasters operating in Cambodia to compete fairly and to effectively serve the public, most owners of broadcast stations who were closely associated with the CPP, did not see it as a necessity because they said they enjoyed the current media environment. For instance, informant #1, a representative of a local TV outlet closely associated with the CPP said


although there is no broadcasting law, theres no problem as we get used to not having the law. We have relied on directives from Ministry of Information and TV Association. For example, TV Association suggested that every TV station must not pay each performing star more than $50 to perform in each program. We must abide by it (personal communication, June 4, 2008; authors translation). The same statement was made by informant #10, a representative of a TV station owned by the CPP. He said dont know if there is broadcasting law, but what I know is I all the stations have licenses from the government. Even if there is no broadcasting law, we have fair competition (personal communication, May 20, 2008, authors translation). Informants said whatever rule the government imposed, they had to abide by. However, informant # 18, representative of a local radio station that was the only outspoken critic of the government, said sometimes he did not follow government directives because the directives were often not practical. He pointed out an announcement by the Ministry of Information on December 22, 1999, signed and sealed by former Minister of Information Liu Lay Sreng, ordering all broadcasting stations operating in Cambodia to pay for audio-visual services. The announcement ordered radio stations in Phnom Penh to pay CR7,000,000 (US$1,750) annually; a broadcast TV station must pay CR13,500,000 (US$3,375); a cable TV company must pay CR7,000,000 (US$1,750); and TV stations using MMDS must pay CR5,000,000 (US$1,250). In provinces with 10,000 residents and above, radio stations must pay CR3,375,000 (US$844) annually; TV stations must pay CR5,000,000 (US$1,250); cable TV companies must pay CR2,025,000 (US$506); and TV stations using MMDS must pay CR1,500,000 (US$375). As for the broadcasting audience, any household with a 16 to 21 inch color


TV set must pay CR3,000 (US$0.75) annually; 21 inches and over must pay CR5,000 (US$1.25); Satellite Disc must pay CR100,000 (US$250) (Ministry of Information, 1999e, p.2-3). Informant #18 said the announcement ordered all broadcasters and broadcast audiences to pay for audio-visual services, but he never complied because it was not clear what the money would be used for. The announcement itself did not explain what the fees would fund. Concerning this announcement, most informants acknowledged that there was such a rule, and they claimed that they paid accordingly. [However, I learned that not a single station has paid the fee and neither have the audiences]. In addition, informant #18 said a country without law never gives any good, but difficulties. A broadcasting law might not be possible because if we have a broadcasting law, the government has no excuse for not giving rights to broadcasting stations to broadcast the truth (personal communication, June 5, 2008; authors translation). Some informants were worried about copyright issues in Cambodia. Many voiced their concerns that Cambodias copyright law was not effectively implemented, which crippled media professionalism. They said many broadcasting stations still used pirated DVDs for their broadcasts. Informant #8, general manager of a TV station, said what he wanted the most was the copyright law to be strictly implemented among broadcast stations. He said [broadcasting stations] must not be allowed to broadcast anything they pirated (personal communication, June 5, 2008). While some broadcasters spent large sums on producing their own programs or buying programs directly from local and international production houses and syndicators, he said, some stations still broadcast pirated programs.


Media professionals. Most informants who were media professionals said that without a broadcasting law, it was difficult for broadcasters to know the direction and expectations of the government. The government could take any measure necessary to restrict and control broadcasters to serve their own benefit; they could shut down any broadcast station that either provided accurate news reflecting social reality or supported opposition parties. Informant #31, a Cambodian reporter working for an international broadcaster, said Cambodia had to have an applicable broadcasting law. He said sometimes broadcasters have concepts to produce certain sensitive and socially reflective programs, but whether to make them happen is a challenge because we do not know what is going to happen when the program is broadcast. Without broadcasting law, the project is just a joke (personal communication, June 6, 2008; authors translation). Media professionals said without a written broadcasting policy, law, and regulations, the government had a lot of room to exercise its control over broadcasting. As a result, Prime Minister Hun Sen abused his power by directly interfering in day-today broadcast programming. For instance, informant #28 said he [Prime Minister Hun Sen] intervenes even with TV shows. He tells what is right, what is wrong, what should be broadcast, what should not be broadcast. Some TV stations are very powerful like TV Bayon, whose owner is Hun Sens daughter. I doubt if any authority dares to do anything if TV Bayons programs are inappropriate (personal communication, June 10, 2008; authors translation).


However, informant #9, a media professional who worked for TVK and was in close contact with the Ministry of Information, said that Cambodia needed a broadcasting law to establish a PSB system and change the current media situation, as well as to help build an informed society. He was sure that the Ministry of Information had the political will to draft a broadcasting law. He said as he worked under the umbrella of the Ministry of Information, he had contacted the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and wanted to conduct a feasibility study to explore the possibility of creating a broadcasting law. He agreed that Cambodia had to have a broadcasting law, saying with a smile that without a broadcasting law it is like marriage without certificate (personal communication, June 13, 2008). Independent observers. Informants who were representatives of civil society, international organizations, or potential donors emphasized the importance of a broadcasting law. They said Cambodia needed an independent broadcast media operating in a professional manner to help strengthen democracy as well as to encourage socio-economic development. Thus a broadcasting law was needed to lead the existing broadcast media in a professional direction. Informant #39 said that a broadcasting law was a complicated thing; thus, Cambodia should start with something simple and move forward later toward a more sophisticated and complete law. One of the informants said there had been an attempt in Cambodia to start drafting a broadcasting law, but it had been postponed. Informant #39 said that his foundation had told the government that it would organize support if the government drafted a broadcasting law, but the government thought it was not the right time to get into such a complicated matter. He said the absence of a broadcasting law


benefited the government and was used as an excuse for not giving out licenses to applicants who had the potential to be independent or critical of government. He said the lack of broadcasting laws has been cited as the reason for not giving out licenses to other radio stations; so if we have broadcasting law that would be easier (personal communication, May 2, 2008). Summary This chapter focuses on politics, which is a dominant consideration and the most important factor influencing the establishment of PSB in Cambodia. All informants, including those from the CPP, acknowledged that broadcast media were influenced by politics. However, there were varied views on this issue. While the CPP and government informants said it was normal that media were influenced by the government and political party in power, the rest of informants said media should be independent from the government and political control and serve the public interest rather than the interest of the government. Fieldwork data also indicated that broadcasting law and regulations must be in place. The absence of broadcasting law not only gave the government a lot of room to impose restrictions on broadcasters, but created an unfair competition environment among broadcasters. While informants from the CPP were reluctant about reforming the current media system, the rest of informants said holistic reform must be made so that independent media could be accessible to the Cambodian population. Informants from the opposition parties said if they won the election, they would establish a PSB system in Cambodia. They would create a new PSB system and leave TVK and NRK as government mouthpieces.


Concerning the establishment of a PSB system in Cambodia, the majority of informants said that the possibility of establishing PSB was subject to the person in power. They said it was normal that people did not want to change a system that offered them political advantages. Consequently, convincing them to give the green light for the establishment of a PSB system was going to be very difficult. Looking at the political and the media situations, informants were pessimistic about the possibility of establishing a PSB system in Cambodia at this time. They said it was doubtful that the government would free media from its control or that the government would be able to see the importance of a PSB system for strengthening democracy and social development. Rather they would be likely to see it as being harmful to their popularity among constituents. Informants had varied views on the opportunity for the establishment of a PSB system. Informants from the CPP and the government acknowledged the importance of PSB, but they did not think it was the right time for a PSB system to be established. However, informants from opposition parties, civil society, and media professionals urged the government to consider the establishment of PSB because they believed the Cambodian people were thirsting for full, accurate information. While informants from the CPP and the government were reluctant about creating a PSB system in Cambodia, others see it as an important type of broadcasting that Cambodia needed to have at this moment.


Chapter 5: Economic Conditions, Civil Society, Socio-Cultural Compatibility Introduction In addition to the political circumstances outlined in Chapter 4, economic conditions, civil society, and socio-cultural compatibility also play important roles as prerequisites for the introduction of PSB in Cambodia. Economic factors are those, along with strengthening democracy and promoting good governance, on which the government bases its decision to consider making PSB a priority. Civil society groups and potential donors can be driving forces pushing the government to consider establishing a PSB system for the country. Social-cultural compatibility is an important factor in determining whether or not PSB can fit into Cambodian society and culture. The Cambodian people are accustomed to politically dependent and commercial broadcasting systems, and their willingness to accept a new form of broadcasting will be critical. This chapter presents my findings based on economic conditions, civil society, and sociocultural compatibility. Economic Conditions Fieldwork data indicated that the countrys economy plays an important role in creating an opportunity for the establishment of a PSB system in Cambodia. Based on fieldwork findings, I concluded that three categories, namely the national economy, the broadcast media economy, and the living standards of the population, were important prerequisites for the establishment of a PSB system in Cambodia. National economy. Since its independence from France in 1953, Cambodia has never been completely self-sufficient, and its national budget has always been supplemented by


foreign aid or loans. In 2009, Cambodia needed CR7 trillion ($1.8 billion) to meet its budget requirements. However, national income was only CR5 trillion ($1.3 billion). Therefore, additional funding of CR1 trillion ($500 million) was necessary to meet its budget (Cambodian Government, 2009, p. 6). Cambodia still ranked relatively low in economic competitiveness on a global basis although, according to the World Economic Forum (2009), it moved up from 110th in 2008-2009 to 109th out of 134 countries in 2009-2010 (p. 26). Nevertheless, it still faced many development challenges, placing it near the bottom of many indicators in sectors such as health and primary education. Cambodia scored well below most ASEAN countries in these areas (World Economic Forum, 2009). The Economic Institute of Cambodia (2009) said Cambodian GDP per capita in 2008 was $703 (p.119), and it was $739 in 2009 (National Institute of Statistics, 2009, Quick Figures). Because of this low GDP, informant #8, a representative of CTN, said that economically the preconditions for creating a PSB system did not exist in Cambodia. Fieldwork data showed that weak economic conditions not only affected private broadcasters operating in a small competitive market, but also negatively affected such state broadcasters as TVK and Cambodian National Radio (NRK). Due to limited resources, the government allocated inadequate funding to TVK and NRK. For instance, in 2009, the Ministry of Information, which oversees TVK and NRK, allocated CR34,938 million ($8,734,500) out of which CR25,720 million ($6,430,000) was for central administration, including the operation of TVK and NRK, and CR9,218 million ($2,304,500) went to Information Offices at the provincial and municipality levels (Cambodian Government, 2009, p. 15). In this regard, informant #12 of TVK complained


about the lack of financial support from the government and said that the TVK budget appropriation was not specified, because it came as a package with the Ministry of Information budget. He said the money from the ministry had never been enough for TVK operations. He added that because of insufficient financial support from the government, TVK had found it necessary to access alternative sources of funding from advertising and underwriting. Many other informants voiced similar pessimism. When asked about the possibility of establishing a PSB system in Cambodia, a majority of informants were doubtful that the economic preconditions existed because they said the government prioritized its spending on other important areas. For instance, informants #3, a senior CPP lawmaker, said that the Cambodian government did not have the money to subsidize broadcasters. Although the state should allocate funding to subsidize broadcasters, informant #3 said this will not be enough because there are many other more important areas, such as education, healthcare, and agriculture, which also must be funded. (personal communication, June 10, 2008; authors translation). Most media professional informants said that in a weak economic environment, it would be difficult for broadcasters to make a profit and to operate independently. They said the countrys underdeveloped economy negatively affected media independence. Economy of broadcast media. Fieldwork data showed that most broadcast companies in Cambodia, instead of making a profit, operated at a loss; some of them were on the brink of bankruptcy and had sought support from political parties. The majority of broadcast station owners complained that the Cambodian media market was too small to support the number of


existing broadcasters. Many informants said the small broadcast market made it impossible for broadcasters to generate enough income for their daily operations. They said existing broadcasters could survive this financially tough situation because they either had financial support from political parties or broadcast station owners had other businesses to support their operations. Funding remained the biggest challenge among Cambodias media organizations. Like other representatives of media outlets, informant #30 of Apsara TV and radio admitted that his station, which was created in 1996 and had been financially supported by wealthy people associated with the CPP, was operating at a loss. He said his station had total assets of $2 million at the time of its establishment, but now just its land was worth $10 or $20 million. He complained that his broadcast station had been facing tough financial challenges because there were so many broadcast stations operating in a very small market. He said his station did not have a good balance between revenues and expenditure, noting that its expenditures were twice as large as its income. He said that in the past, TV commercial rates were $200 for a 30 second commercial spot, but because of the highly competitive environment that rate had fallen to $50 in 2008. The radio commercial rate was even lower, about CR10,000 ($2.5) for a 60-second commercial spot. He said this was the reason why some radio stations that declared themselves to be independent actually sold their airtime to VOA and RFA. They get money from VOA and RFA without spending money to produce their own programs, he said. Apsara But cannot accept any program that attacks the government. Even if they gave us $10,000 per hour, we could not accept it. (personal communication, June 4, 2008; authors translation).


Data showed that even TV3 and TV5, which are Thai joint-ventures, had also been facing difficulties despite having the advantage of being in operation since the early 1990s, much longer than most other local private broadcasters. In the early 1990s, TV3 and TV5 had a competitive advantage because most of Cambodias imported products were from Thailand. Commercials for imported Thai products went to TV3 and TV5 first before going to other local broadcasters. In this regard, informant #1 of TV3 admitted that in the early 1990s, it was easier for his station to earn profits. He commented that while the number of broadcasters was increasing, the market was not expanding, which made most broadcasters unprofitable. In addition, broadcast representative informants said that because of the competitive environment, broadcasters had to reduce their commercial rates so that they could attract more advertisers. They added more commercials to certain popular programs, but the revenue from advertising was not significantly increasing because advertising rates were low. They complained that broadcasting too many commercials hurt their programs a great deal. Informants who were part of the broadcast audience were also displeased about the long commercial breaks that interrupted the flow of programs, making it difficult to concentrate. When asked about these audience reactions, most broadcast station representatives said they were aware of these concerns and were sorry for the inconvenience this caused, but they explained that commercial rates were too low to shorten commercial breaks. However, informant #8 of CTN said that in order to address the problem of lengthy commercial breaks, he set higher advertisement rates to help weed out small firms that could not afford the new commercial rates and keep those that could


afford them. By doing this, he said, it was possible to shorten the length of commercial breaks. Informant #18 of Beehive Radio FM 105 said his station was better off than many radio stations. This was because his station was independent and gaining popularity. Besides commercial advertisements, FM 105 had other sources of income, including selling airtime to political parties that could not access other broadcasters as well as to not-for-profit organizations, and by acting as an affiliate for international broadcasters, such as VOA and RFA. He explained that many broadcasters in Cambodia struggled in this competitive environment because most of them were politically influenced, which hurt their programming and discredited them with the public. As a result, he said, they could not attract advertisers while FM 105 had more than enough paid commercials. When asked how broadcasters could cope with the shortage of capital, informant #12 said he saw two possible ways to make TVK self-sustaining. First, Cambodia was geographically divided into two zones: agricultural and commercial. TVK would produce programs to be aired for free in agricultural zones, but in a few cities, such as Phnom Penh, Sihanoukville, Siem Reap, and the Koh Kong Free Trade Zone, subscription fees would be charged. Second, taxes on broadcasting facilities, such as transmitters, TV sets and walkie-talkies, should be imposed and part of the revenue should to go to the TVK account. He said these methods for increasing revenue should be supported by the government in order for TVK to have adequate money to successfully serve the public. He also suggested a partnership with the Cambodian Electricity Company (EDC) because watching TV consumed electricity. Therefore, EDC might be able to include broadcast license fees in their electricity bills for their consumers. However, he admitted that he had


never raised these ideas because he was afraid that the Ministry of Information, the Council of Ministers, and the Prime Minister's Cabinet might conclude that TVK wanted to be independent. TVK management was worried that those high-level politicians did not understand the importance of independence for the public service programming it provided. He added that if the current situation could not be changed, TVK would not be able to survive for the next 20 years. He said the government would never give TVK millions of dollars for development even if, in the future, Cambodia benefited from oil, gas, and other mineral resources. Since income from advertising sources is limited, media professional informants said some broadcast stations sought funding from international donors. For example, according to informant #36, the Womens Media Center of Cambodia (WMC), radio FM 102, had about 10 donors, giving from $500 to $100,000. She said those donors included OXFAM, USAID, and the Global FUND, among others. She emphasized that FM 102 was a unique broadcaster in Cambodia because, in addition to broadcasting its own programs to attract commercial advertising dollars, it acted as a media production house, producing educational spots for TV and edutainment programs for both TV and radio. They did marketing and audience research in order to attract funding from donors. She said FM 102 generated 20 percent of its total revenues from commercials and 80 percent from donors. Even so, instead of making a profit, she said FM 102 as well as the rest of broadcasters found it difficult just to survive. In order to survive, media companies did things they were not supposed to do. For instance, informant #25 said a majority of media companies in Cambodia did not pay taxes. Media business owners did not care about developing media professionalism.


Journalists did not have computers to write their reports. He shook his head and said I feel shameful discussing the lack of facilities in my organization, which is considered one of the leading local newspapers in Cambodia (personal communication, May 7, 2008; authors translation). He said that while international media organizations such as VOA or Radio Free Asia (RFA) paid $70 per story, local media organizations paid only $2 per story. Therefore, in order to survive, the local reporters sought other sources of finance. He added that one of these sources was likely Hun Sen. Research informants said many newspapers and media outlets were not professional in their operations. Many media professionals suggested that the Minister of Information should terminate newspapers and media outlets that did not meet professional standards. On this subject, informant #25 said a person went around asking for money. He might receive $200 from one donor and $300 from another. He then published several hundred copies a few pages in length at a cost of $90; so he made several hundred dollars. These kinds of newspapers existed only as vehicles for blackmail and should be closed (personal communication, May 7, 2008; authors translation). A lack of sufficient investment in media, informants said, negatively affected both the quality of programs and news articles and the professionalism of media practitioners. Informant #24 said that media practitioners got only between US$50 and US$100 a month. This inadequate salary, he said, prompted local media workers to often ask for money from organizers of the events they were sent to cover, and they sometimes engaged in unethical activities. I witnessed this case when I went to RUPP during my data collection for this study. I met with officials at RUPPs administrative office. They


complained that journalists asked for money from RUPP every year. When I asked for further information and proof, a RUPP staff member gave me letters from newspapers2 that had a tradition of going from one institution to another to ask for money. The RUPP official said that before special events, such as New Year or Pchum Ben, more than a dozen newspapers regularly requested money from RUPP, threatening that if this was not provided, they might write something bad about RUPP. The official said that usually the RUPP management gave them some money to avoid a confrontation with the media. While the majority of broadcasters in Cambodia faced financial difficulties, when asked what they thought about paying for PSB as part of their public service, all but one of them, the informant from TVK, said they would do whatever was required by law. They said that if everyone paid, they would not oppose it. However, they felt that in order to participate in the support of a PSB operation, they needed to be fully informed about its concepts and processes and given assurances that the money really would go to the PSB account. In addition, laws protecting PSB were required, they said. Most informants were very uncertain about whether PSB could be introduced despite the fact that Cambodia needed a PSB system. They were concerned that private broadcasters could not help with financial support for a PSB as part of their public service because of their own difficult financial situation. Media professional informants

Sralanh Cheat (Loving the Nation) Newspaper; Samaki (Solidarity) Newspaper; Sangkum Cheat (National Society) Newspaper; Khmer Meakutesk (Guide Khmer) Newspaper; Khemrak Cheat (Khmer Nation) Newspaper; Reastr Sechak Newspaper (Truth People) Newspaper; Vimean Ekareach (Independent Monument) Newspaper; Kampuchea Ekareach (Independent Cambodia) Newspaper; Nokor Santepheap (Peace Country) Newspaper; Akthipakdei (Presidency) Newspaper; Ruom Kamlang (United Force) Newspaper; and Bakorng (Bakorng) Newspaper.


said that even though a PSB system was needed in Cambodia, the financial environment posed a real challenge to its establishment. Peoples Living Standard. The worlds most prominent PSB models are the BBC of Great Britain and NHK of Japan. Both the BBC and NHK get most of their funding from license fees paid by the public. For these models of PSB, the peoples living standard is a very important factor in determining the possibility of establishing a PSB system in a particular country. Cambodian peoples living standard is relatively low. Eighty percent of Cambodias 14 million people are poor and reside in rural areas where 32 percent of GDP is generated and 4.75 million of the 8 million labor force are employed (UNDP, 2009, p. 20, 34). According to a World Bank (2011) report, Cambodian poverty rates in 2007 were highest in isolated rural areas where there is limited access to roads, markets, information, news, and other basic services. Altogether, thirty percent of Cambodians live below the poverty line, which is $1.25 a day. Because of this high poverty rate many informants were not very optimistic about the possibility of creating a PSB system in Cambodia. For instance, informant # 8 said that BBC or NHK models could not be applied in Cambodia because this would put a great burden on the Cambodian people, a majority of whom were economically disadvantaged. This pessimism was echoed by many informants, including policymakers, officials of not-for-profit organizations, academicians, media practitioners and international donors representatives, all of whom voiced concerns about the viability of license fees given the relatively low standard of living in Cambodia. Informant #10, a local broadcasting representative, said


I think it would be difficult to implement the PSB concept in Cambodia due to the low living standard. I am afraid that people wont be able to pay. For this reason, the government might not want PSB to be introduced because it would put more burdens on people who are already poor (personal communication, May 20, 2008; authors translation). What informant #10 said was later confirmed by Prime Minister Hun Sen, who, in December 2009, stated on local radio and TV that the introduction of license fees for broadcasters in Cambodia was just a dream that would never be made a reality. Prime Minister Hun Sens reaction came immediately after Chheang Von, a CPP lawmaker and chairman of the National Assemblys Commission of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, attempted to introduce the concept of license fees to help Cambodian broadcasters. The negative view was also substantiated by the data from interviews with audience members in Siem Reap, Sihanoukville, and Stung Treng Provinces. Only in Phnom Penh was the audience sufficiently prosperous to support licensing fees. According to fieldwork data, people had a lack of interest in radio and TV programming because they were too busy thinking about what to eat. For instance, an informant from group #5 said dont care about politics. I like funny things, but I am not interested in I anything serious; what I really care most about is what I have for my children and myself to eat daily (personal communication, May 11, 2008; authors translation). Another informant in group #5 said that there were four main reasons that he did not listen to radio or watch TV. The first reason was poverty. When his familys and his stomach were not filled properly, he had no energy to think about other things. The second was


that he did not own a radio or TV set because he could not afford such luxury items that did not fulfill a basic need. The third reason was that radio and TV did not have programs of interest to him. And the fourth was that commercial breaks were too long, which for him was very irritating since he had no money to buy those advertised products. Despite this pessimism, audience member informants said they could pay if they were required to do so by law, and if everyone had to pay. They said that as active citizens and members of society, they would feel obliged to pay. In addition, informants from Group #4 in Phnom Penh were optimistic that people would contribute to the operation of an independent broadcaster such as PSB. One of them said I remember that a lot of people voluntarily supported Beehive FM105 radio when it was on the brink of bankruptcy in the 1990s. This proves that people will contribute to supporting an unbiased and independent broadcaster like PSB. The most important consideration is whether the newly established PSB system is trustworthy and really independent. If people can be convinced that PSB is unbiased and independent, they will contribute (personal communication, June 17, 2008; authors translation). Informants in Group #4 (Phnom Penh) said that if PSB programs were fair, unbiased, and impartial, they would be very useful to Cambodian society because they gained little benefit from the existing broadcasters. Thus a truly independent PSB would be popular and gain support from the public. They said they would be able to contribute to such a PSB operation. They felt that most people in the city would do this. The majority of informants said they were pleased that establishment of a PSB system in Cambodia might be considered, and they were very supportive of the concept.


However, most did not believe that license fees could be used in Cambodia. They said that even though some ordinary citizen informants had indicated a willingness to pay, in reality they probably would not be able to do so. Civil Society and Potential Donors For the purposes of this study, civil society groups means not-for-profit organizations, non-governmental organizations, community groups, and media associations; potential donors refers to international organizations, UN agencies, and bilateral government agencies. These organizations have been playing an active role in assisting the development of media professionalism in Cambodia. In this section, I have organized my fieldwork data into two subsections: local civil society groups and potential donors. Local civil society groups. Although a few local civil society organizations have been promoting freedom of expression and press as part of their broader objective of increasing awareness of human rights and democracy among the Cambodian public, they have not been able to convince the government to place media reform on its agenda. Data indicates that local civil society groups are weak and not well informed about independent media such as the PSB system. Cambodia has 622 non-governmental organizations, 418 of which are local and are listed by the Cooperation Committee for Cambodia (CCC) (as cited in Im, 2009, para. 8). A few local NGOs, whose objectives focus on human rights and democracy, pay attention to the development of media and other media issues. Those organizations include LICADHO, ADHOC, WMC, CCJ, CAPJ, and CCiM or VOD.


LICADHO, one of the first human rights organizations in Cambodia, was established in 1992 by a Cambodian living abroad, Pung Chhiv Kek, to monitor rights violations, provide human rights training, and offer medical care to prisoners and victims of human rights violations (LICADHO, n.d.). Informant #27 of LICADHO said that since 1993 civil society groups had been very actively involved in social development and human rights. Before 1993, there were only international organizations working in Cambodia. She said LICADHO was one of the most important civil society groups in Cambodia. When asked how civil society groups would be able to help in establishing PSB, informant #27 said we are working with the media. Civil society can help lobby the government and attract the governments attention. We dont need the Ministry of Information. We need an independent body to regulate the countrys media. Civil society groups can encourage donors to help push the government to put in place a media law so that media practitioners can work in a fear-free environment. Civil society groups, LICADHO in particular, can contribute to the establishment of a PSB system in Cambodian. Civil society would work as a partner with PSB (personal communication, May 13, 2008; authors translation). Informant #37, a senior member the CPP, acknowledged the important input of civil society groups and their role in mobilizing all stakeholders in broadcasting policy and lawmaking. She said a strong foundation could be built if all stakeholders, including all levels of society, government officials, donors, and civil society groups were involved in the policy making and implementation processes. Informant #37 added that


their [civil society] input would provide a good lens from every corner and would contribute to the successful establishment of a PSB system in Cambodia. Cambodia does not have enough people with requisite knowledge about PSB. We still have a huge hole to be filled. The hole makes us stumble. Even at the Cambodian senate, there are inadequate documents. Cambodia has some knowledgeable people who have been educated abroad, but they are still not yet adequate (personal communication, May 8, 2008; authors translation). The majority of informants said that civil society was very important and should be invited to participate in drafting legislation on broadcasting and offering ideas regarding how to establish a PSB system in Cambodia. They noted that NGOs had been trying to fight for democracy, rule of law, freedom of expression, and human rights in Cambodia and these efforts could not be successful without independent media such PSB. Informants observed that the local NGOs had not lobbied the government to give the green light for the establishment of a PSB system. They said that by focusing only on the fight for democracy and human rights without paying much attention to the establishment of effective means for carrying their messages, civil society groups had neglected the process for bringing their goals to fruition. Civil society representatives had little knowledge of PSB. They complained that the current Cambodian media system was controlled by the CPP, but seldom talked about efforts to promote an independent media system. Informants said only two organizations had activities related directly to media development. These organizations are WMC and CCiM.


WMC, which owns FM 102 and focuses on the development of broadcast media, media programs, and independent media, has tried to shield itself from political and corporate influences. However, in the difficult political environment now facing the Cambodian broadcast media, informant #36 said WMC had tried to avoid political headwinds from the government and the CCP. Although she did not say that WMC was afraid of airing sensitive programs, some informants commented that WMC did not dare to sell air time to opposition parties. CCiM is new non-partisan, not-for-profit, non-governmental organization based in Phnom Penh that focuses on promoting independent media. It was established in June 2007 as an offshoot organization of the Cambodian Center for Human Rights (CCHR) (Cambodian Center for Independent Media, n.d.). This center is actively involved in promoting democracy and human rights through its Voice of Democracy (VOD) radio program with financial support from the International Republican Institute (IRI). CCiMs VOD programs are simultaneously aired by five radio stations throughout Cambodia. One of the stations is located in Phnom Penh and the others are in Siem Reap, Oddar Meanchey, Battambang, and Kampong Thom provinces. In 2008 CCiM planned to set up its own radio station but it was not given a license by the Ministry of Information. However, CCiM was able to rent a radio station, FM 106.5 MHz, and rename it Sarika FM 106.5 MHz. It has a capacity of 10 Kilowatts. CCiM is the only organization in Cambodia that has a direct focus on promoting independent broadcast media. But media professional informants said CCiMs activities had not convinced the government to expand opportunities for freedom of press and expression by allowing independent broadcasters to operate in Cambodia. They said this was due to the fact that CCiM was


seen as opposing the government rather than simply providing independent broadcast services with unbiased, impartial news and programs. This was because CCiMs VOD radio programs covered sensitive issues, which often led to criticism of the government. As a result, the government rejected CCiMs license application to set up a new radio station. Although a few civil society groups raised the case of the governments rejection of CCiMs application, they did not work together with CCiM to fight for its cause. Many informants emphasized that only civil society groups were able to rally broadcasters to cooperate in working with the public and others to pressure the government on media policy and legislation. However, this was going to be a difficult task because media professional groups themselves did not work together effectively to maximize their influence on issues such as freedom of expression and the press. As noted in Chapter 4, media practitioners are splintered along political lines. As a result, informant #25 of CCJ said there were 18 journalists associations3, but only CCJ and CAPJ had the strength to lobby the government. In this regard, informant #38, a Cambodian reporter who worked for an international broadcaster, said the media community had been broken apart to serve political interests. He said it was important to create unity among the media community. In July 2007, CAPJ was able to convince 14

The 18 journalist associations are Khmer Journalists Association, League of Cambodian Journalists, Independent Journalist Union, Club of Cambodian Journalists, Cambodian Association for Protection of Journalists, Cambodian Journalist Association, Cambodias Media Forum on Environment, Neutral Journalists Association, Khmer Journalist Democracy, Federation of Cambodian Journalists, Cambodia Press Association for Liberty, Khmer Journalist Friendship, Independent Press Organization, Cambodia Independent Nation of Journalists Association, Press Distributors Association, Cambodian National Journalists for Freedom led by Chheavann Salideth, Cambodian National Journalists for Freedom led by Than Vutha, and Organization Press Council of Cambodia.


media associations to come together and form the Press Council of Cambodia (PCC). But CCJ, one of the most active and prominent media associations in Cambodia, has not yet joined the PCC. Informant #38 said in order to have a strong and independent broadcasting system, media professionals must unite into one strong organization committed to professionalism and tackle issues in a professional way. How can we pressure the government to be committed to establishing an independent broadcasting system such as PSB while media organizations are not strong and are politically biased? (personal communication, May 22, 2008; authors translation). Radio and TV associations are headed by political figures from the CPP. While the radio association was headed by Sok Eisan of CPP, the TV association was headed Mao A-Yuth, a Secretary of State for the Ministry of Information. Informants said broadcasting associations were political institutions that served only the government and CPP interests, and they would never want to work on promoting independent media. Media professional informants said that instead of opposing the government directly, media professionals sought to engage the government. They said it had to be done carefully so that the government did not become suspicious about their intentions. Informant #25 said CCJ was willing to draft a memorandum together with the national police commissioner to request that the police not confiscate cameras, films, and other necessary tools belonging to reporters, but the wording would have to be acceptable to both sides. He believed this was a better approach than pushing for a law immediately so that the police felt they were part of the process. He said


by signing the memorandum, the police commissioner would be making a pledge that reporters would not be handcuffed or jailed because of what they wrote. The same approach could be used for introducing a PSB system to Cambodia. It is difficult, but we need to be wise in approaching them. Being too direct would not work in Cambodia (personal communication, May 7, 2008; authors translation). All in all, I discovered that local civil society groups had made no significant progress toward improving the independence of broadcast media from political and business interests. Informants from civil society groups said they had not considered PSB or planned to lobby the government for creation of an independent broadcasting station until I introduced the concept to them by citing such PSB systems as BBC, NHK, SABC, and Thai PBS and their practices. They acknowledged that an independent broadcasting system such as PSB would be very useful for Cambodia. A few civil society groups, such as LICADHO, WMC, CCJ, CAPJ, CCiM, and ADHOC had concerns about the media being biased, but they had not made significant progress in promoting independent broadcasting in Cambodia. They often blamed the government for pressuring and influencing broadcasters politically, but they had not tried to convince the government to consider establishing a PSB system. Potential donors. International organizations and bilateral government agencies are supporting media professionalism through various projects ranging from media education to broadcasting programs. Informants from potential donors said international organizations and foreign government agencies that focused on the introduction of democracy and human rights to Cambodia played a crucial role because independent media were usually


part of their assistance packages. International organizations and foreign government agencies that have media projects include the EU, the KAF, UNESCO, the Asia Foundation, the World Bank, UNDP, and the IJF. The majority of informants acknowledged that donors had the power to pressure the government because the government relies heavily on international financial assistance to sustain its budget. Government and CPP informants also acknowledged important input from international donors on media development in Cambodia. For instance, informant # 3, a senior member of CPP and a lawmaker, said the Cambodian government, especially the National Assembly, was willing to work with the international community and donors, and it welcomed input from international donors in the lawmaking process. He said that if there were a discussion on media law in the future, European Community, Konrad Adenauer Foundation, CIDA Canada, UNESCO, the UNDP, IMF, World Bank, and ADB as well as other organizations, and political parties will be invited (personal communication, June 10, 2008; authors translation). Donors also expressed a willingness to be involved in media development. For example, informant #29 of the EU said the EU was willing to help with media development through various projects. He said the EU would spend more than $1 million on media training between 2010 and 2011. According to informant #29, the EU helped media development because media was essential for democracy, freedom of press, and freedom of expression. Media helped promote and increase peoples awareness about development of the country. He said that through the media, the EU was able to help strengthen groups in Cambodian society, such as the judiciary, police, and school teachers. Knowing the important role of media, informant #26 said E works with TV U


and radio to support programs such as call-in shows on EU cooperation in Cambodia and other educational programs, including energy saving and climate change (personal communication, June 3, 2008; authors translation). In addition, donors encouraged Cambodia to establish an independent media like PSB and considered this particularly important for a poor country. For example, informant #29 of the EU said the poorer the country, the more important it is to have PSB in order to reach the many illiterate people. There was also a thirst for learning among the literate, especially [the] new generation, who wanted to learn about events beyond the borders of the country since they cannot travel easily to other countries. It is important for the people to have the possibility of seeing and listening to what is happening in other parts of the world (personal communication, June 3, 2008). Another international organization that is actively involved in media development in Cambodia is the Konrad Adenauer Foundation (KAF), a German foundation, which has been in Cambodia since 1994. The foundations mandate is to promote democracy, rule of law, respect for human rights, and social equity. The foundation has worked with many key institutions, such as the National Assembly, the Senate, the Council of Ministers, the Ministry of Interior, some other ministries, media organizations and local civil society groups. Informant #39 of KAF said that KAF had three basic areas of focus in the media sector. One was supporting the Club of Cambodian Journalists (CCJ), which was already a good association of journalists with a certain degree of independence. The foundation organized support for CCJ members and provided consultations on how to improve its work. The second was support to the Royal Universitys Department of


Media and Communication (DMC), which was the first academic training institute for journalists and media professionals in Cambodia. KAF had been supporting DMC in several ways, including providing finance for on-going operation of the academic program, bringing in short and long term lecturers from abroad, training Cambodian students, and sending Cambodian journalists to study abroad, especially to the Philippines and Germany, in order to strengthen academic education in journalism. He said KAF had brought radio experts from one of the German public broadcasting stations to work with NRK and private radio stations. The EU and KAF are not the only organizations helping develop media professionalism. The Asia Foundation has supported short media training courses at RUPP and the development of community newspaper projects, IJF has been supporting journalism training courses at RUPP, and UNESCO has a long history of helping promote media professionalism in Cambodia. UNESCO helped to establish the Cambodia Communication Institute (CCI) in 1994 to provide on-the-job training to media practitioners (UNESCO, 2004). The CCI was the first media training institution in Cambodia, designed to assist in the reconstruction and development of the media sector. Informant # 34 said UNESCO was still financially supporting CCI operations even though it had been under the management of DMC since 2003. He said UNESCO initiated the idea of creating community radio in Ratanak Kiri and Mondul Kiri provinces, the plateau areas in the northeastern part of Cambodia, where a variety of ethnic minorities reside, to broadcast dramas in minority languages for the promotion of HIV/AIDS awareness. Informant #34 said the Minister of Information Khieu Kanharith supported the idea. However, during an


interview, informant #34 did not give me a clear idea of how UNESCO was going to sustain the stations. He said UNESCO would help with the start-up costs and provide technical assistance as well as operational support for a limited time. He said it was a pilot project for UNESCO, and they were hoping to identify more funding while operations of the stations were underway. Informant #34 said I cannot switch funds from one sector to another. But once the project starts with integrated funding for both the education and culture sectors it is possible for UNESCO to allocate funds from the education project to the cultural side. That is what I do. So, very often, this radio literacy project is funded not from communications, but from the literacy project (personal communication, May 3, 2008). When asked whether UNESCO is interested in being involved in the establishment of PSB, informant #34 said UNESCO strongly supported the establishment of PSB, and would figure out how to support PSB when the time came. The majority of informants from international organizations and donors had ideas similar to those of informant #34. They said it would be difficult for them to fund PSB directly, but this could be done if PSB programs were related to their areas of focus. They noted that international organizations and donors rarely funded broadcast operations directly, which made it difficult for non-profit broadcasters to sustain their operations. They said that if a future PSB could broaden its programs to touch on areas of donor interest, it could definitely attract donor funding. They said this was difficult, but it could be done. If PSB programs included areas such as education, culture, and HIV/AIDS


prevention, then donors that focused on those areas could justify funding these programs, which was a way of funding overall broadcast operations. In addition, most informants from international organizations and donors said they would be able to provide financial support for a future PSB system indirectly through technical assistance, training, and programming. They were not interested in supporting the physical infrastructure but rather the intellectual content by providing experts in PSB as well as in the legal framework for media. They suggested that they would be happy to help with the drafting of a broadcasting law, an information access law, a communications law or a public broadcasting law. For instance, informant #39 said that the idea of drafting new laws on information access and a broadcasting law had already been introduced and discussion on these topics had been initiated. Informant #39 said I can tell you that if there is a movement for setting up such a radio station, we would be on board if you ask. We could easily organize conferences or workshops to determine the organizational structure necessary to begin operations in Cambodia. This could be easily done by bringing in experts to review the situation and provide advice. We could help [with] some equipment as well and also in training media practitioners to do their jobs effectively (personal communication, May 2, 2008). The World Bank also has tried to help with broadcast development. According to informant #2, the World Bank was looking into assisting NRK on good governance. The Minister of Information also corroborated that his ministry had requested World Bank assistance for media reform. Informant #2 said the World Bank funded NRKs Tlk a


Back program, allowing listeners to call in with questions for experts on good governance. He said the World Bank was able to provide technical support if the government requested it. The World Bank could also help coordinate and bring international experts in to open workshops on media reform, freedom of expression, or the establishment of a PSB system. Although the World Bank did not have a specific agenda on media development in Cambodia, according to informant #2, it was possible that the World Bank would consider helping with the establishment of PSB if Cambodia needed it and requested assistance. When asked how the World Bank would help support PSB if it was created, informant #2 of World Bank said at the point when the establishment of PSB is made a reality and the government is interested in asking the World Bank to help, the World Bank will consider the necessity and the need of Cambodia for PSB, which is related to an ongoing World Bank project for promoting information access. And I believe that the World Bank will discuss this possibility with the government and ask how the World Bank could help (personal communication, June 17, 2008; authors translation). Informant #2 said the World Bank had discussed the prospect of creating community radio in Cambodia, but had come to the conclusion that this was not possible due to concerns about sustainability as well as political interference and influence. He added that because of widespread poverty Cambodians could not help sustain community radio stations and donors could not provide assistance forever. UNDP has also financially supported broadcasting programs. UNDP has worked with TVK to initiate a program called Equity, under the UNDP umbrella project called


Strengthening Democracy and Electoral Process in Cambodia. Although this program was created by UNDP and TVK, it has also been financially supported by AUSAID (Australia), SIDA (Sweden), Canada International Development Agency (CIDA), and Irish Aid. (UNDP, 2010). Although international organizations and foreign government agencies want to help with media development in Cambodia, they are concerned about ownership by the government of Cambodia. They said they did not come to Cambodia to tell Cambodians what to do or to allocate financial assistance in specific areas. They initiated projects with Cambodian authorities as well as local civil society organizations. They conferred with the government and provided financial assistance to civil society organizations that had media projects, such as LICADHO, DMC, WMC, and CCiM. They said that even though they had certain goals and expectations, it was important to keep in mind that they did not come to Cambodia to impose ideas on the Cambodian people as imperial powers and missionaries had done. Therefore, they were not going to pressure the government on establishment of a PSB system because the decision to do this must be made by the government. Socio-cultural Compatibility Based on previous studies and fieldwork data, society and culture also contributes to the environment needed for the establishment of PSB. Under the rubric of sociocultural compatibility, I intended to explore whether Cambodian society and culture were compatible with existing traditional models of PSB and whether the concept of PSB could be applied in the Cambodian context. In this section, I organized fieldwork data into three subsections, namely social structure, participatory culture, and public attitudes


toward broadcast media. The three categories elaborated on the Cambodian social context, population composition, class structure, everyday decision making style, and attitudes toward media, including whether they conform with traditional PSB requirements. Social structure. In order to understand whether PSB can be applied in the Cambodian sociocultural context and how the PSB concept could be adjusted to fit with existing conditions in Cambodia, one must first of all look at how Cambodian society is structured. In this subsection, I discuss population composition and social classes in Cambodia. Based on fieldwork data, I found that the diversity of the Cambodian population and its social class structure do not conform with traditional PSB requirements. To begin with, like many old societies, Cambodia is composed of a number of ethnic groups and classes. The Cambodian population is made up of four main ethnic groups, namely Khmer (90%), Vietnamese (5%), Chinese (1%) and others (4%), which includes the Cham [Khmer Muslim], the Khmer Leu (Hill Tribes), and Caucasians (Central Intelligence Agency, 2010). The Vietnamese population may be larger than this because according to Steinberg (1959), in 1959, out of a total Cambodian population of 4,740,000, 5 percent were Vietnamese, 5 percent were Chinese and 2 or 3 percent consisted of Cham, Europeans, Japanese, Indians, Pakistani, Thai, Laotians, and hill tribes (p. 4). After the 1979 Vietnamese occupation of Cambodia, the number of Vietnamese immigrating to Cambodia increased. However, there are no current statistics showing the exact size of the Vietnamese population.


According to Steinberg (1959) and Martin (1994), the majority Khmer are found throughout the country, both in the cities and in rural villages. They work as farmers and government officials. Almost all of them are Theravada Buddhists. Their language is Khmer. In addition, the Vietnamese, most of whom came to Cambodia after the Vietnamese occupation, live in almost every corner of the country, especially along the Mekong and Tonle Sap rivers. Most of them earn their living by fishing and running small businesses. Another important group is the Chinese who play a significant role as middlemen in many sectors of the economy. Most are in the business sector, but some of them have high-ranking positions in the government. Steinberg (1959), Martin (1994), and informants said the Chinese people spoke Chinese in their own community and used Khmer as the means of official communication. The Chinese community is located mainly in cities, especially in Phnom Penh, with its many cultural and religious institutions. Informants said that although the different ethnic groups preserved differences in their social and cultural institutions, they had commonalities, such as respecting the national constitution and using the Khmer language as a means of official communication. In regard to population composition, the majority of informants said ideally diversity in population composition should contribute to the creation of prerequisites for a typical PSB system. However, they pointed out that neither the Khmers, the Vietnamese, nor the Chinese had traditions of freedom of expression and the press. Since Cambodia historically had no freedom of expression and free media, and democracy had just been introduced to Cambodia in the early 1990s, open mindedness was not common among the Cambodian people. Thus, freedom of expression and the media were not fully accepted.


The majority of informants said the arrival of Chinese and Vietnamese immigrants had not helped create the prerequisites for the establishment of a PSB system in Cambodia because they had come from communist countries where there was clearly an absence of press freedom and freedom of expression. Other ethnic groups were too small to affect the overall situation. Cambodia is divided not only into ethnic groups but also into social classes. For instance, informant # 3 said Cambodian society was a hierarchical society with an elite group, which included the royal family, high-ranking government officials, military officers, religious leaders, wealthy people, and noble families at the top. Beneath this was a lower ranking group consisting of farmers, fishermen, craftsmen, and blue-collar urban workers. He said each group had its own internal ranking system. Informants said that while the royal family, the highest ranking elite group, was determined by birth, the rest of the elite group, including military and government officials and the wealthy business class gained their status either by personal achievement or association with people in power. Since Cambodia is a hierarchical society, different behavior patterns and linguistic usages are practiced at different levels (Steinberg, 1959, Martin, 1994). In addition, people of a higher social status earn respect from those of a lower status. According to fieldwork data, people in power believed that they did not make mistakes and did not accept criticism from those of a lower status or from the media. For instance, informant #25 said any form of criticism, regardless of whether it was constructive or not, was considered insulting and might result in a violent reaction. In some very sensitive cases, this might be life threatening. He said that in 2008, Khim Sambo, who wrote about corruption and land evictions for Moneaseka Khmer newspaper,


was gunned down along with his son in broad daylight near Phnom Penhs Olympic Stadium. He said it was believed that the late Hok Lundy, formerly national police commissioner, ordered the killing as a result of Sambos coverage of Lundys intimidating behavior toward casino operators in Baveth town along the CambodianVietnamese border. Since 1992, 12 journalists have been killed in Cambodia, and none of the killers have been found and brought to justice (Cambodian Center for Independent Media, 2009, p. 15-16). Data indicated that in Cambodian society, there are two types of people from whom criticism is accepted: teachers and parents. Informant # 25 said although this was not always true, people were more likely to listen to and accept advice from those who were considered their teachers or parents. Any form of advice or criticism by people other than their teachers or parents had to be given in an indirect, diplomatic way to avoid being considered an insult. In this sense, informants said it would be difficult for an independent medium such as PSB to fulfill its role in presenting the truth because in Cambodia, according to these findings, stating the truth could harm a lot of people. This was especially the case regarding high-ranking government officials and those who associated with people in power because they had many secret affairs and scandals ranging in nature from sexual relationships to corruption. Therefore, given the population composition and class structure in Cambodia, along with the uneven practice of democracy, the new PSB system would face severe challenges.


Participatory culture. Since the ideal PSB model is purposely designed to serve the public by providing programs to address all issues of a society, which private and state broadcasters and other forms of broadcasting are not able to do, public participation is necessary for the successful operation of PSB. According to Habermas, (2001), Today, newspapers and magazines, radio and television are the media of the public sphere (p. 102). It is clear that PSB is a public service operation, which enables citizens to voice their opinions, engage in dialogue, serve as a platform for debate, anchor governance reforms, and facilitate poverty reduction and development through provision of needed information (Kalathil, Langlois, & Kaplan, 2008, p. 6). PSB can play an important role in a democratic society so it is important to examine whether the requisite participatory culture exists in Cambodia. Based on fieldwork data, I found that Cambodia was a collective society without a functioning participatory culture in decision making and policy making processes. Informants said that at the grassroots level in rural areas, where the majority of Cambodians lived, people helped one another for survival, but they did not participate in decision making and policy making processes. Many informants said Cambodians, especially those in rural areas, had a strong sense of community, and there was a very collective social ethic. One of these was informant # 27. She said that unlike people in the West, most people in Cambodia lived in a house with extended families. They liked sharing both sadness and happiness with one another. She said the questions they always asked new acquaintances, which shocked most Westerners, were you married? and Are


How much do you earn? These questions were common among Cambodian community members, indicating that personal information was usually shared. In addition to personal information, Cambodian people also like sharing information, news, and entertainment. One of the informants in group #5 said that in the past there were only a few radio sets in a village. Villagers gathered together to listen to news on current affairs, politics, drama, and traditional plays: Lakhaon Basak, Lakhaon Niyeay, Yike, etc. Since there was usually no electricity in rural areas, radios used batteries. If there were no batteries, listeners took turns spinning a hub dynamo, a small electrical generator built into the hub of a bicycle wheel, to generate power for the radio. In some rural towns, loudspeakers were hung on posts along the main road to provide information. Later, they shared black and white TVs to watch programs broadcast from Phnom Penh. The same informant said that although this was no longer the case, some people who live in isolated areas still share radio and TV sets. Furthermore, data show that some information is exchanged at Buddhist temples, which act as community centers, where many community members, especially the elders, get together fortnightly (based on the phases of the moon). There, according to an informant in group #7, in addition to praying and offering food to monks, they discuss plans for temple activities and share personal information as well as their concerns about various issues in the community and the country. Even so, that informant said when asked to participate in the decision making process, they usually refuse to do so, saying that this was not a personal matter of theirs and that the authorities should be the ones responsible.


Data show that, in the past, Cambodian people had a better sense of community. This is confirmed by an informant in group # 6. She said that in the past, community members helped one another to organize events, ceremonies, and weddings, as well as in development work, such as building roads, houses, and irrigation system for their communities. However, she said nowadays, this spirit of solidarity has gradually faded away. She said people were now more selfish than before, were more materialistic and had lost their sense of community. For instance, she said some people did not even fill potholes in the roads in front of their houses because they thought that this was not their responsibility but that of the government. Moreover, traditional practices of respect within Cambodian society hinder people from being active participants in a social dialogue. Instead, according to data, Cambodian people now chose to be passive listeners and good followers because culturally they respect people in power who have a higher social status. Therefore, they normally leave things beyond personal issues for the authorities to deal with. One informant in group #4 said other than family issues, he would leave all responsibilities to the government, including village chiefs, religious leaders, commune leaders, and powerful officials. Most ordinary citizens in the four regions of this study, when asked whether they wanted to be part of a PSB operation, said this depended on senior leaders and the king. For instance, one informant in group #6 said she had no idea whether she wanted to participate in a PSB operation or programming, but w hatever the king wants us to do, I will follow him (personal communication, May 17, 2008; authors translation). Additionally, data suggested that the absence of a participatory culture is due, in part, to the fact that Cambodia has been under authoritarian leadership by a series of


feudal and socialist regimes, in which the public had limited or no opportunity to engage in political debates or the decision making and policy making processes. Informants said that in the past even the names of newly born babies were given either by commune chiefs or Buddhist monks. Furthermore, authoritarian regimes had created a culture of passivity among Cambodians. For instance, one informant in group #5 said Cambodian everyday life was regulated by customary rules, and a lot of popular sayings were designed to indoctrinate ordinary people. He said some of the most common sayings were Num Min Thom Cheang Neal or Cake is not bigger than its mold, Ngeuy Skak Aon Dak Kroap or erect rice stalk bears no seeds while a bowing stalk hangs heavy with An seeds. These sayings are taught by families and even at school. As a teacher in a high school in Strung Treng province, one of the informants in group #7 said these sayings were good for educating youngsters to be obedient to teachers and their elders. He said he wanted students to be obedient and listen passively rather than actively asking him questions while he was talking. According to him, this was what he learned from his teachers, and it was useful in everyday life. He said Cambodians would value those who were obedient and humble and let the elders speak. Challenging elders was considered rude. In this way, informant # 27 emphasized that Cambodians did not actively participate in political debate because they had been brought up in a society where challenging parents, teachers, and authority figures was discouraged. In addition to customary rules regulating everyday life and the nature of the society itself, the fieldwork data also showed that Cambodian people did not exercise initiative in the decision making process for five main reasons: intimidation and threat, lack of information, lack of education, poverty, and an immature democracy.


Intimidation and threat was the first factor inhibiting people from active participation in decision and policy making. Cambodian people in rural areas are often subject to threats and intimidation. For instance, when asked whether they wanted to participate in producing PSB programs or acting as citizen journalists for PSB, informants in group #7 said they wanted to participate in PSB program production, but they were concerned about their personal security if they did this. One of the informants in group #7 said that in his province, there are a lot of sensitive issues that are newsworthy, and policymakers and the rest of the country should be informed, but people have to close their eyes and turn their backs to the problems. Violations, such as deforestation, illegal fishing, natural resource abuses, and abuse of power, have been committed by powerful local people, the armed forces, and business people who are closely associated with powerful people (personal communication, May 31, 2008; authors translation). A lack of information is a second reason why participation by ordinary people in the policy making process is low. Most Cambodian people in rural areas are not well informed because objective, unbiased, impartial news and information is rarely available. One informant in group #5 said it was not that she did not want to participate in a PSB operation, but she did not know what was going on in either her community or the outside world, and she did not know what was good or bad regarding PSB. She said with me or without me, it does not make any difference anyway. In general, I simply dont want to embarrass myself in front of others (personal communication, May 11, 2008; authors translation).


Lack of education is the third cause of peoples low participation in decision making process. Informant # 23 of the Royal Palace confirmed that a lack of education was one of the factors hampering participation in decision making. A lack of education is also reflected in low levels of literacy. The Cambodian adult literacy rate in 2007 was 76.3%, with most literate people living in urban areas, and the percentage of the population living in urban areas was 20.9% in 2007 (Asian Development Bank, n.d. Table 1). A lack of functional literacy leads to lack of creative thinking and inability to make use of available information. There are several NGOs working in Stung Treng province on human rights and community development. They usually invite local people to participate in workshops or discussions. In such cases, one of the informants in group #7 said information was provided but people still found it difficult to make good use of this information. He said that after the workshops or discussions were over, he forgot most of what had been said and was unable to use it or pass it on. He said that because of a lack of education local people were unable to utilize the information they received and to anticipate what was going to happen in the future. One informant in group # 5 said he left all the responsibilities to leaders who were knowledgeable about the things they were doing. He said the have power, and they know better than me. So, they have better y judgment. So why do I need to participate? I can follow whatever they impose (personal communication, May 11, 2008; authors translation). Poverty is a fourth cause of low participation in the policy making process. Most informants cited poverty as a key factor hindering people from actively participating in decision making and policy making processes. They said some people were too poor to present any ideas. They actually understood the importance of peoples participation in


the decision making and policy making processes, but near starvation hampered them from thinking about anything else. For instance, when asked whether they wanted to participate in a PSB operation if it was established in the future, one of informants in group # 6 from Sihanoukville said it depends on my living conditions, if my family and I are still facing starvation, how can I have the ability to think about anything else? If my family is starving, I dont have the brain capacity to think about anything else (personal communication, May 17, 2008; authors translation). The final factor that prevents people from active participation in the decision and policy making process is the immature state of democracy in Cambodia. According to MacIver (1965), under a democratic system government becomes an agent and the people are the principals who hold it to account The spirit of democracy lives in the fundamental law that elevates the community above the state (p. 148, 153). However, I found that, although Cambodia was nominally a democratic country, active citizen participation is lacking. David Jonathan Gross, a Nobel Laureate in physics, said that Cambodia was one of the youngest democratic states in the world; therefore, the importance of democratic principles was not yet well understood among its people (personal communication, January 17, 2010). In addition, as discussed in previous sections, most elements of everyday life for Cambodian rural people are regulated by customary rules, not by government laws and decrees. According to a majority of informants, active public participation in political debate, decision making, and policy making processes is largely absent in Cambodia although NGOs and donors have made efforts in the last two decades to introduce a


culture of participation. For instance, according to Tassos Coulaloglou, program officer at the National Democratic Institute (NDI) for International Affairs, the NDI in Cambodia had had a program called Constituency Dialogues since 2004 to provide a public forum for broader interaction and more meaningful engagement between citizens and their elected representatives from all political parties (personal communication, May 16, 2010). Although ordinary citizens are invited to participate in political debates, according to informant # 38, it is difficult for them to criticize people in authority face to face. However, he said that during the last two decades since democracy had been introduced to Cambodia, some people, especially those who were members of opposition parties, had become courageous enough to challenge government officials by giving their opinions about certain sensitive issues. Publics attitudes toward broadcast media. Cambodians are accustomed to watching TV and listening to radio for free. All Cambodian broadcasters, regardless of whether they were state, private, or political party affiliated, can be accessed for free. There were a few pay- cable TV companies operating in Cambodia but only in the capital city and a number of provincial towns. Since the majority of Cambodians, especially those in rural areas, cannot not afford them, cable services are not widely available. Most informants in group #7 said they could not access many TV programs because most were available only through cable TV in the provincial towns, and they had no money to pay for these services. Informants said that because Stung Treng was far from the capital city Phnom Penh, where all the broadcasters operate, most parts of the province did not have either TV or radio reception. For that reason, people listened to VOA programs, which were broadcast 90 minutes per day on


both AM and short wave radio. Data indicated that these were the most accessible programs for Cambodians in many parts of the country. When asked whether they were willing to pay for the programs they wanted to listen to or watch, most informants in rural areas hesitated. Informant #38 said Cambodians dnt have a tradition of paying for o media. Its hard for them to accept the concept of paying for media programs (personal communication, May 22, 2008; authors translation). Most informants said that because of poverty and the tradition of watching TV and listening to radio for free, it would be difficult to apply the concept of license fees or voluntary contributions in Cambodia. With regard to broadcasting programs, most ordinary citizen informants in groups # 4, 5, 6, and 7 said the information, news, and other programs provided by existing broadcasters were not adequate. One of the informants in group #4 said I dont think we have enough information. I need more programs that educate youngsters, including programs on health and culture. News is acceptable only for one side, but not for the other side who is anti-government. Comedy is also political (personal communication, June 17, 2008; authors translation). Most informants in group #5 said they needed hard news and soft news as well as soap operas. Many of them watched international channels more than Cambodian channels because they learned more about other countries as well as about the realities in their own country. They said they liked VOA and RFA, which covered more social issues and sensitive matters, such as corruption, injustice, and other things that local broadcasters did not cover due to lack of courage or because they were mouthpieces of the government or the CPP. They said that by listening to VOA and RFA, they learned who was good, who was bad, who had done positive things for the country, and who had


acted in a destructive manner. Likewise, the majority of informants in group #7 said local and international news broadcasts were too short, and they felt that broadcast programs should be more educational. This could be done by embedding them in entertainment, soap opera, and comedy programs. They said they wanted to enjoy the programs and learn at the same time. Furthermore, they wanted more broadcast programs about their provinces and communities. One of the informants in group #7 said that if she was invited to participate in producing broadcast programs, she would do so voluntarily in order to have an opportunity to provide some input and recommend what local people needed and what problems people in her community were facing. She said can be a I citizen reporter. It is useful. I can help promote the concept of PSB and citizen reporting to everyone in my community (personal communication, May 31, 2008; authors translation). Most informants in the four regions said broadcast programs should be socially beneficial. They said they wanted to know about social development, economic development, and government policies, but nothing about these topics was now being broadcast. They complained that broadcast programmers usually did not do research before producing programs. Therefore, most programs produced by the existing broadcasters did not meet peoples needs. They said they would provide information to if programmers if they had a chance. One of the informants in group #4 said they are able to produce programs, they should be able to collect data for their programs. Its difficult for the market to go to you, but you need to go to the market, and we are your market (personal communication, June 17, 2008; authors translation).


Members of civil society groups, donors, media professionals, and politicians all felt contemporary Cambodia did not have the prerequisites for PSB, in part, due to the fact that people were accustomed to free broadcasting. Most informants expressed concerns that people did not understand the PSB concept well. They said the key thing was that people had to understand the importance of PSB. People needed to be educated step by step about the concept of PSB. In order to create choices for people and change their mindset, the media should be free. They said the PSB concept must be widely promoted to the masses as well as to policymakers. They said an outreach program was needed to explain the concept. Informant #2 said that if everyone in the country understood the importance of PSB, and if people were aware of its necessity to help them improve their lives and educate them, people would demand it and pressure the government to move in that direction. Likewise, informant #13 said when people understand the concept, they will support it. If the majority of people support it, there will be pressure on the government. If we depend on politicians to have the political will, that may be difficult. The will must come from the people (personal communication, June 6, 2008; authors translation). Even politicians from the CPP acknowledged the importance of PSB and felt that the attitude of the public as well as government officials toward the use of broadcast media should be changed by educating them on the concept of PSB as well as on the sense of ownership and responsibility that went with it. Informant #16, a member of the CPP, said we need to explain the PSB concept to the public and government officials so they understand it. At this point, they dont understand, but in the future, when a


younger generation is in place, and most older people have retired, that might change. The Ministry of Information has a plan to make broadcasting independent of outside interference (personal communication, May 3, 2008; authors translation). Likewise, informant #37, another high profile politician from the CPP, said she supported having PSB, but it had to be implemented carefully, step by step, and it had to be done in a manner compatible with Cambodian culture and tradition. She was afraid that people might think it was complicated, but in her opinion, it was not complicated because human beings evolved, culture evolved and so did the country. Summary This chapter is the second part of fieldwork data report, focusing on the contribution of economic conditions, civil society and potential donors, and socio-cultural compatibility to the prerequisites for the establishment of a PSB system in Cambodia. As discussed above, the Cambodian national economy, as well as the media economy, is weak, peoples living standards are relatively low, civil society groups are not very knowledgeable or not strong enough to pressure the government, and international organizations or foreign government agencies do not want to interfere in the governments work because they believe that the decision on whether or not to create a PSB is the governments responsibility. They will help only when they are asked by the government to do so. The chapter also points out that there is a lack of participatory culture in Cambodia although Cambodians often share personal information with other community members. However, they do not normally participate at decision and policy making levels. The chapter also indicates that people are accustomed to using broadcast


media for free. Thus, it is difficult to introduce the concepts of fee paying or voluntary contributions to finance a PSB system.


Chapter 6: Discussion and Conclusion This chapter presents a summary of the study and discusses the findings presented in Chapters 4 and 5 based on research questions. This chapter also discusses implications of the study and provides recommendations for future research as well as policymakers and practitioners. Summary of Study The study explores the potential for establishing a PSB system in Cambodia. Four main factors - political circumstances, economic conditions, civil society and potential donors, and socio-cultural compatibility, were examined to determine how their impact on prospects for a future PSB system. These four factors were chosen based on previous studies. A second objective of the study was to develop an organizational structure for a future PSB that would make it independent of political and corporate influences and enable it to serve the best interests of the public. A third objective was to develop a funding scheme for a future PSB that would make it financially sustainable in the long run. The study shows that politics, the economy, civil society and potential donors, and socio-cultural compatibility contribute to the determination of prerequisites for a PSB system. However, the findings further indicate that these preconditions were not at all found in Cambodia at the present time. The ruling party dominates the political scene and strictly controls the existing media system, from which it derives important political benefits. Cambodias weak economic conditions and low living standards severely limit prospects for sustainable funding of a PSB system; civil society and donors are neither sufficiently strong nor have an interest in exerting pressure on the government to reform


the existing media system and to place the establishment of a PBS on its agenda. In addition, Cambodian society lacks a participatory culture, which is one of the crucial requirements for establishment of a PSB system as well as for democracy more generally. The study reaches two key conclusions. The first is that media dependency is created by the interactions of a dominant political party, a weak economy and civil society, and the absence of a participatory culture. The second conclusion is that an independent media system is unlikely, if not impossible, to emerge and be sustained when political life is controlled by a single political party. Prospects for the establishment of PSB in Cambodia. This subsection will address the first research question, which aimed to explore prerequisites for the establishment of PSB in Cambodia based on current political circumstances, economic conditions, socio-cultural factors, and civil society situations. In order to find out whether prospects for the establishment of PSB exist in Cambodia, first of all, factors contributing to the prospects must be understood. The following is the discussion on those factors. Raboy (1994) introduced a triangle model, arguing that the interaction among different actors situated in the areas of the state, the economy, and civil society affect broadcasting. He also said that in order to effectively utilize all the resources available and flowing through the system, the broadcasting environment needs to be systematically organized and structured, and all of these actors should be considered. Consequently, this study considers all important actors and their interactions as factors contributing to the prospects for establishment of PSB in Cambodia.


A PSB system performs as an organization, possibly viewed as a living system, which is affected by its external and internal environments. PSBs units, such as departments of administration, advertising and public relations, production, engineering, research, human resources, and finance, act as subsystems interacting with one another, along with the external environment, to create a PSB system. Since a PSB system has not been established in Cambodia, there is no PSB internal environment to be studied. Therefore, this study focuses on the influences of the external environment on the possible establishment of PSB. For this reason, Figure 5 has been developed, based on the research findings, to illustrate the relationships among the four main external factors, which contribute to the creation of a broadcast media environment as well as to a future PSB system. It also demonstrates that a PSB system interacts with other broadcast media within the media environment. Politics Civil Society

State Broadcaste rs

Commercial Broadcasters PSB System

Organizational Structure Financ e Economy Program

Socio-Cultural Compatibility

Figure 5: Relationships among Influencing Factors and a PSB System


Impact of political circumstances. In Cambodia the broadcast media are strongly influenced by the political environment, and they in turn provide important benefits to the ruling party, which uses the media to marginalize, opposition parties. Opposition parties are allowed to have their own print media outlets, but they have not been granted licenses to operate broadcast stations. This is because the public has limited access to print media and the government thus views it as having much less influence than the broadcast media. People in rural areas have limited access to print media because of four main factors: low literacy levels, poverty, limited print media distribution, and the lack of a reading habit. In addition, because of poverty, people do not have the money to buy print media. Poverty causes people not to be interested in reading newspapers, magazines, or books because they are too busy meeting basic needs. The lack of a market for written information discourages print media owners from distributing newspapers or magazines in rural areas. In general, Cambodians prefer watching TV or listening to the radio over reading. As a result, broadcast media have more power to influence people in rural areas. In this environment, the government allows more freedom to print media in order to create an image of openness and often cites the relatively large print media sector in Cambodia as proof of its dedication to freedom of expression even though most of these print media outlets are of low quality. Broadcast media have more influence than print media because in addition to peoples preference for listening or watching over reading, the broadcast media coverage is larger geographically. People do not need an education to access broadcast media content, and radio sets are cheap. Radio can be listened to anywhere, at home, at the


offices, in cars, while working in paddy fields, on plantations, etc. People can listen to it even when they are busy doing other things. Little time and effort is required for listening to the radio. Control of the broadcast media allows for one-way communication from the government and the CPP to the public through most existing broadcast media outlets. The broadcast media respond to this politically controlled situation by producing messages for their audience that please the political elites. Ordinary citizens thus become passive political message consumers rather than active citizens because they have few opportunities to voice their concerns through existing broadcast media outlets, especially if these involve criticism of the government. This is one reason why in Cambodia there is little public input on policy making, which leads to failures in implementation. McChensey (2008) states that political economists who study the media believe that the media system is the result of policies made in the publics name but often without the publics informed consentthe media system is an important factor in understanding how societies function (p. 12). This is clearly the case in Cambodia, where policymakers make decisions based on their assumptions about what people need without popular input. For instance, during my field research, I found that most policymakers I interviewed assumed that because of relatively low living standards, people would not contribute financially to the operation of a PSB system. This assumption was proved wrong when four groups of informants from four different regions of the country said they would contribute within their capacity to the operation of independent broadcasters such as PSB if they existed because they felt a need for impartial and unbiased news and programming, which was not available at the


time. Another case supporting this is the fact that voluntary contributions were made to the Beehive FM 105 station in the 1990s, when it was on the brink of bankruptcy. Based on this evidence, it seems clear that Cambodias existing media system has been created without public input by policymakers, most of whom are members of the CPP, to serve the CPPs own interests. Even those belonging to the CPP acknowledge that the government controls the broadcast media. This political control allows little room for broadcast media to have an impact on politics and the policy making process because there are no public inputs on their programs. Most of the existing broadcast media, instead of acting as a public forum, have been used as mouthpieces and propaganda tools of the government. In addition, the government restricts freedom of expression and press by not awarding licenses to opposition parties or non-profit organizations devoted to the promotion of human rights, democracy, and social justice. The former president of the World Bank, James Wolfensohn said a free press is not a luxury. A free press is at the absolute core of equitable development, because if you cannot enfranchise poor people, if they do not have a right to expression, if there is no searchlight on corruption and inequitable practices, you cannot build up the public consensus needed to bring about change (as cited in Kalathil, Langlois, & Kaplan, 2008, p. 6). This is the situation that Cambodian citizens and opposition parties are facing because they are not given full freedom of expression and freedom of the press. By not allowing opposition parties or social-change agents to own broadcast stations, the government is able to control and utilize existing broadcast media to serve its interests


while preventing those with a reform agenda from providing an alternative source of information. This suggests that the countrys media are greatly influenced by politics, which severely limits the possibility of establishing PSB. Impact of the interaction between politics and economy. The interaction of political and economic factors also has an impact on broadcast media and the potential for establishment of a PSB system. Cambodia has been nominally practicing democracy since the first general election organized by the UNTAC in 1993. However, like other developing, post-Communist, and post-conflict countries in the world, Cambodia holds elections without checks and balances. According to Paul Collier, a professor at the University of Oxford and an author of award-winning book The Bottom Billion, checks and balances, which are non-existent in most of the poorest nations of the world, play an important role in a country's development. He said the electoral competition determines how you acquire power, and checks and balances determine how you use power. It turns out the electoral competition is the thing thats doing the damage with democracy And so, what the countries of the bottom billion need is very strong checks and balances. They havent got them. They got instant democracy in the 1990s; election without checks and balances (personal communication, February 23, 2009). In Cambodia, the absence of checks and balances weakens the implementation of law and law enforcement, which discourages reputable foreign investors from investing in Cambodia, thus significantly damaging the national economy. The executive branch has too much power while the legislative branch is weak. Therefore, lawmaking institutions follow the directions of the executive branch. This is due to the fact that


members of parliament are members of political parties, whose presidents have the power to choose MPs or strip them of immunity. According to Cambodias election law, if a member of parliament is expelled from their party, they automatically lose their seats in the parliament. Under these conditions, they have no choice but to work for the interests of their parties rather than acting to serve the interests of the people. For instance, informant #3, a member of parliament and a senior CPP member, acknowledged that members of parliament, including himself, serve their political parties. Although five parties are represented in the National Assembly, the CPP enjoys a two thirds majority, which precludes any checks and balances on their actions. Because of this unbalanced distribution of power among political parties, all decisions are made by the individuals in power, making the system vulnerable to corruption and patronage, which leads to the misallocation of resources. As a result, while the country is poor, a handful of people in power and their associated business elites control the nation's resources, ignoring the wishes of average citizens and leaving important areas, including the media, underfunded. In order to survive, broadcast media have to transform, restructure, and adapt to this environment. Broadcasters must compete with one another not just to make a profit, but to survive. Although most media owned by the CPP do not make a profit, they are funded by the CPP or CPPs business associates so that they can continue to serve the CPPs interests and to suppress opposition parties or social activist groups that do not support the CPP-dominated ruling government. Because of this, the broadcast system is vulnerable and cannot be independent of either political or corporate influences.


Impact of the interaction between politics and civil society. The role of civil society and NGOs is to fill social gaps or to act as watchdogs on government activities. The work of civil society and NGOs can be carried out only when the government is cooperative and allows civil society groups and NGOs to freely operate. Although a considerable number of civil society groups, local NGOs, and international NGOs have been allowed to work in Cambodia, the government views many of them as critics who lean toward the opposition parties because many of them focus on human rights, democracy, and social development, areas where the government has been severely criticized. Many social injustices are not addressed by the government. This is not because the government does not want to address them. Rather, it is because most of those in power were born and brought up in an undemocratic society and have never experienced a real democratic system that values checks and balances, transparency, and rule of law. In addition, addressing these issues is beyond the government's capacity at this time. That is due to the fact that many CPP leaders have themselves been involved in illegal logging, land grabbing, forced eviction, or using defamation laws to silence political opponents. The activities of civil society groups, NGOs, and journalists often lead to criticism of the government. If the government allowed an independent media to be established, this would provide civil society groups with an opportunity to use it as a vehicle for addressing social problems. Since this could harm government officials, many of them would not favor the creation of an independent media outlet such as PSB. In some showcase efforts designed to please donors and to make the policy making process look good, the government has allowed civil society groups and NGOs to


participate in policy development. However, according to Mam Sambath, Chairman of Board of Directors of Cambodians for Resource Revenue Transparency (CRRT), the inputs of civil society have rarely been used in actual legislation. He said we see that participation of civil society, and the public is limited in the drafting of bills, policies and decrees. I think the government should be encouraged to see the important role of the community and the public so that it can provide the community with adequate opportunity to provide inputs that would lead to better and more effective policy choices that would benefit communities and the country (personal communication, November 25, 2009; authors translation). Civil society groups and NGOs attempt to pressure the government to respect human rights, promote social justice, practice democracy, and encourage freedom of expression and the press. This has both positive and negative consequences. On the plus side, the response by the government to the efforts of civil society groups creates an environment in which media can enjoy certain freedoms. The efforts of civil society groups and NGOs have led the government to allow print media to have more freedom than broadcast media, and opposition parties are allowed to own print media outlets. In addition, pressure by civil society has led the government to allow a few FM radio stations to relay the programs of international broadcasters, such as VOA, RFA, RFI, and ABC Australia. This allows people to access programs that are too politically sensitive for local broadcasters to produce and broadcast. On the minus side, pressure by civil society groups to allow freedom of expression and the press makes the government more cautious about giving out broadcast licenses to civil society groups, NGOs, and opposition parties. It also makes the government more restrictive in allowing media


activities that might damage its image. As a result, none of the NGOs and opposition parties that applied for broadcast licenses has been successful; the government has used the excuse that no frequencies are available and that it wants to wait until a broadcasting law is put in place. Civil society groups and NGOs are too weak to effectively influence the CPP dominated government to undertake reform of the broadcast media. They do not have adequate knowledge about broadcast media, and they do not work together cooperatively toward this common goal. Cambodian media associations have split into many smaller associations, making it easy for the government to ignore their concerns and recommendations. Civil society groups would like the media to be independent so that they could help educate the public and work toward poverty alleviation. However, although civil society groups and NGOs cannot pressure the government to reform the existing media system, some local civil society groups, such as LICADHO, ADHOC, WMC, CCJ, CAPJ, and CCiM have direct or indirect projects dealing with media development as well as the promotion of democracy, human rights, and freedom of expression. They either produce media programs themselves or fund media programs produced by local broadcasting outlets. Although local broadcast media cannot produce investigative reports or stories on sensitive issues, civil society inputs enable the media to produce better programs than simply conveying political messages and stories about the activities of the people in power. The programs produced or funded by civil society groups also help address the financial burdens that broadcasters face. Similarly, some donors whose objectives are to promote democracy, human rights, social justice, education, culture, and socio-economic development have


financially supported the production of broadcast programs and media education. Those donors, to name a few, are EU, IJF, KAF, the Asia Foundation, UNDP, UNESCO, and the World Bank. Donors are also actively supportive of improved media professionalism. By supporting media education and professionalism, they help strengthen the quality of broadcast programs and the journalists producing them. Impact of the interaction between politics and socio-cultural compatibility. The Cambodian political system is characterized by corruption and patronage, which channels resources to people in power and their associates. Although Cambodia has transformed its economy from a command to a free market system, policymaking is driven by the dominant party leaders, and decisions are made in an unsystematic manner. Because of this patronage system, national revenues benefit the ruling party and its associates rather than ordinary citizens. For this reason, national revenues have never been adequate for poverty alleviation and socio-economic development. This puts stress on citizens who also face many other challenges, such as illiteracy, social insecurity, and political threats. Even though most people are aware that their freedom of expression and freedom of access to unbiased information is limited, they are still reluctant to exercise their power to press the government for media reform. This is due to the fact that the CPP has a good understanding of the mindset prevalent in Cambodian society and Cambodian culture. It also knows what donors want to hear and plans its political strategy accordingly. Unlike opposition parties, which present themselves as elites with an overseas education who are capable of bringing Cambodia out of poverty, the CPP tries to identify with citizens, the working class and farmers, who make up of the majority of


Cambodian population. The CPP tries to win peoples confidence by projecting the image that they are rooted in local society, care about the people and will remain in the country to help them. Most CPP officials have roots in the countryside and are from farming families and that emerged from the revolution. The CPP is the only party that was formed based on the principle of supporting local community interests, but it gains political benefits by manipulating the common people. In Cambodia, you know is more who important that w you know. Knowing how to apply this view, the CPP has a hat competitive advantage over the opposition parties. As a result, the CPP is able to gain the confidence of the majority of voters, especially in rural areas. In addition, gratitude is very important in Cambodian society. This is conveyed in a number of commonly known sayings, including those who teach me once are my teachers for a lifetime, and serve those who give me rice to eat. Since the CPP, in the I late 1970s, invited Vietnamese troops to overthrow the murderous Democratic Kampuchea regime, which ruled Cambodia from 1975 through 1979, it has been regarded by most survivors as a liberator that deserves their votes. With this in mind and knowing that Cambodian people are passive and generally lack critical thinking, the CPP has liberation as one of the main messages in its political platform. At the same time, it has sought to discredit opposition party leaders for seeking refuge abroad while the Cambodian people were living under very difficult circumstances. The CPP has taken advantage of the fact that the Cambodian people have very little exposure to freedom of expression or to an independent media to create a broadcasting system to teach the Cambodian people about democracy and rule of law


based upon its own definitions. Meanwhile, the CPP blocks its opponents from accessing the broadcast media. Impact of economic conditions. In addition to political circumstances, economic conditions also influence the broadcast media. According to McChesney (2008) changing the media system goes part and parcel with changing the broader economic system to produce a more humane and equitable society (p. 13). This embodies the view that economic factors and the broadcast media influence each other. Change in an economic system encourages reform of the media system so that it can adapt to new and more complex economic conditions. Thus, at the time when the free market economy was introduced to Cambodia in early 1990s, the broadcast media system was adjusted to deal with this changed situation. Local and international private broadcasting corporations began to invest in the Cambodian broadcast media and set up a number of new stations. To succeed in this new environment, the existing broadcast media, including state broadcasters such as TVK and NRK, were restructured to access available resources in order to compete with other broadcasters. TVK and NRK have begun acting as semi-private entities because financial support from the government is insufficient. Recently, Information Minister Khieu Kanharith encouraged both TVK and NRK to transform themselves into public enterprises, which, according to him, are financially autonomous, even though they are still administratively under the governments control (personal communication, May 3, 2008). The Cambodian economy is weak and is not financially self-sustaining. Because national spending exceeds national income, the government has become heavily


dependent on international assistance in the form of loans and grants or through projects implemented by NGOs. Every year, Cambodia has gone deeper and deeper into debt from international sources. By 2008, Cambodias international debt was about 48.9 percent of GDP (Ear, 2009, p. 173). Lack of self-sufficiency has led the government to prioritize spending based on its Rectangular Strategy for national development. The core goal of the Rectangular Strategy is good governance, with a focus on fighting corruption, legal and judicial reform, public administration reform, and armed forces reform (Hun, 2008). Although the media are a critical component in accomplishing the Rectangular Strategy, the media are not a government priority. While the introduction of a free market economy has led to broadcasting reform moving from state control to allowing the establishment of private owned broadcasting outlets weak economic conditions make it impossible for broadcasters to generate enough revenues for their daily operations. Because of underfunding, most broadcasters have engaged in inappropriate activities. The small and competitive market for broadcast media leads many broadcasters to seek alternative sources of funding, and the CPP, the party with the largest resource base, is able to help finance them, directly and indirectly. In addition, because of the small market and because Cambodia is not a consumer society, most corporations allocate little money for advertisements on broadcast media. Therefore, broadcasters must keep advertising rates at a low level to attract more customers in order compete with other broadcasters. Low advertising rates have forced all broadcasters to carry more commercials than usual, leading to complaints that commercial breaks are longer than the programs. Broadcasting station owners acknowledge that this is true, but they cannot do anything about it because their low


advertising rates have tied their hands. The least expensive commercial advertisement on TV is US$50 per 30-second spot and on radio it is US$2.5 per one-minute commercial spot. These low advertising rates are critical to the nature of the broadcasting environment in Cambodia. It also leads to a vicious level of competition among media outlets in their quest to gain advantage in the new free market economy. Impact of the interaction between economy and socio-cultural compatibility. The weak economy contributes to poverty, which makes Cambodian people even more dependent on whatever sources of resources are available. Often, the sources are corrupt politicians and businessmen who want to take advantage of them. Thus, even though they live in a collective society, most Cambodians are not actively involved in the decision and policy making processes because they are busy with the struggle for daily life. Many people understand the importance of participation in the decision and policymaking process, but poverty hinders them from doing this. Therefore, the passivity of ordinary citizens is caused in part by the weak economy, which also affects the broadcast media, making them vulnerable to exploitation by politicians and corporate leaders. This vulnerability is due partly to the absence of public participation. Most people, even ordinary people in the countryside, know that nearly all broadcast media are influenced by politics and business interests, resulting in politically motivated programs that serve the interests of the CPP. Nevertheless, they support the broadcasters without complaining. In addition, the weak economy contributes to illiteracy, which is one of the causes of passivity. Without education, people are less likely to think critically or to participate in the decision and policymaking process.


Before the free market economy was introduced, Cambodian people listened to and watched commercial-free programs by state broadcasters. However, after the free market economy was introduced in early 1990s, mindsets have been transformed from a command economy to an economy with full competition; now audience members are deluged with advertisements on the broadcast media. Although some people complain about long commercial breaks, many have commented that ads add some spice to programs because they help keep them informed about what products or services are available in the market. Impact of civil society. Civil society groups and donors help raise peoples awareness of certain issues, including human rights, women's rights, democracy, and rule of law. MacIver (1965) stressed that unde the democratic system government becomes an agent and the people r the principal who holds it to account The spirit of democracy lives in the fundamental law elevates the community above the state (p. 153). This can happen only when that citizens are actively involved in the decision and policy making processes. In the case of Cambodia, active participation by the public in political debate, in decision and policy making is very limited for several reasons, including intimidation and threats, lack of information, high illiteracy, poverty, and a hierarchical social environment. It is in part the role of civil society groups and donors to help rally knowledgeable and committed people to create a critical mass that is informed about key issues. These include the important role of PSB as well as the need to challenge policymakers and elected officials so that they are accountable and serve public interests rather than narrow political or business interests. It is natural that human beings are selfish and are likely to be corrupt if


there is an opportunity and when no preventive system exists. Like other developing countries, Cambodia possesses many unethical and selfish politicians who use the patronage system to gain political popularity. This situation can be changed only if citizens have the courage to stand up and fight for their rights and freedoms, including freedom of expression and the press. Over the last two decades, a few NGOs and donors have made efforts to encourage a culture of participation. Since democracy was introduced through the 1993UN- sponsored general election, NGOs and civil society have expanded remarkably to meet the needs of Cambodia and its people. This is partly due to the fact that the newly formed Cambodian government was not capable of addressing the overwhelming social problems or guiding the country democratically, because most middle-level bureaucrats were accustomed to working in a socialist authoritarian culture and had limited knowledge about democracy and a free market economy. A workable democratic system did not exist; there was no democratic constitution, no rule of law, no competent law enforcement, a weak state apparatus, and few informed citizens. Both human resources and the administrative system were unprepared to cope with the sudden introduction of the new political and economic system put in place by UNTAC. In addition, people did not understand how to exercise their rights and freedoms in a democratic way. Given this situation, NGOs and civil society groups had to work closely with the people to promote their awareness of issues. International donors have often funded or worked with local NGOs and civil society groups to address such problems, and they have also tried to involve local community members. This is important because, in general, outsiders do not understand


the problems since they do not live with them every day, and paradoxically, insiders themselves are not aware of problems because they do live with them every day. Therefore, working together has proven to be more effective. Although NGOs, civil society groups, and donors have made efforts to promote a participatory culture, the inhibitions to this in Cambodian society still exist. Promotion of a participatory culture in Cambodia is difficult because of factors such as intimidation and threats by authorities, lack of information, high levels of illiteracy, poverty, immature democracy, and the hierarchical social environment. Furthermore, Cambodia has a history of authoritarian leadership practiced by feudal and socialist regimes, in which the public had little opportunity to participate either in political debates or decision and policy making processes related to the development of their communities. A participatory culture could also be promoted by independent broadcast media but these do not exist. Impact of socio-cultural compatibility. Cambodian society is hierarchical. Cambodian people usually respect higher authorities, and deference toward those with status plays an important role in Cambodia. For instance, because the CPP was responsible for overthrowing the Khmer Rouge regime and saving them from being killed, most people in rural areas tend to follow the CPP. Reform of the media system is also hampered by the fact that Cambodia has a small middle class and a large economically disadvantaged population. The majority of Cambodian people are poor partly because of the misallocation of national revenues. National revenues leak into private pockets instead of going to socio-economic


development. Significant amounts of national resources and foreign aid go to a handful of people in power and to those who execute development projects. Most programs are produced to target certain age groups, racial groups, gender, social status, professions, and preferences. For instance, WMC ranks the main population groups in terms of priority. The categories of WMCs audience: women, vulnerable groups (indigenous communities, commercial sex workers, disabled people, children and the elderly), youth, civil society and private sector, decision makers (civil servants, politicians, lawmakers, national assembly, donors, NGOs, bilateral donors), womens groups, educators (monks, teachers, intellectuals, professionals), workers (factory workers, laborers cyclo drivers), and overseas Cambodians (Womens Media Center of Cambodia, 2004, p. 27). Moreover, citizens can have an impact on the broadcast media if they are knowledgeable about it. According to Collier (2007), developing countries have a chronic shortage of citizens with requisite knowledge to actually do the work they are responsible for. He said that a group of several hundred knowledgeable people can form a critical mass. The critical mass includes all stakeholders: average citizens, educated people, and apolitical elites. Cambodia needs such a critical mass. If a group of Cambodian citizens were knowledgeable about the broadcast media, they could help encourage reform of the existing broadcast media to improve programming and upgrade management. Most Cambodians have no awareness at all of PSB, and they have no idea about how to pressure the government to reform the countrys broadcasting system. The absence of critical mass in Cambodia is in part due to the fact that Cambodia lacks a dynamic intellectual community. This is so because few educated people survived


the genocidal regime which controlled Cambodia between 1975 and 1979. Intellectuals are important for the creation and maintenance of a PSB system because they can organize conferences, seminars, and other sorts of training activities to promote the concept of PSB within society. By such means, an intellectual community can effectively pass on knowledge about PSB to ordinary people, and it can rally support for government reform of media policies so as to permit the introduction of a PSB system. The lack of an intellectual community will thus severely hinder any attempt to create a PSB system in Cambodia. On the other hand, people are generally aware of the strong influence of the broadcast media on their outlook. Some broadcasters set clear objectives for their programming. For instance, WMC produces its programs with the aim of transforming the public attitudes and perceptions that hinder the development of womens potential, in order to shape public opinion and influence behavior on social and economic issues, to raise awareness of policymakers and the public on issues which negatively impact women and children, to increase womens participation and leadership in the development and political sectors, and to enhance impact and the quality of its its programs through strategic partnership (Womens Media Center of Cambodia, 2004, p. 29). To sum up, all the ruling politicians are powerful and confident that they are able to sustain their power indefinitely by using vulnerable broadcast media to serve their political interests and suppress their opponents. Weak economic conditions make it impossible to fund all areas adequately. Beyond this, the weak national economy gives the government an excuse for not prioritizing the development of broadcast media


because of a need to allocate revenue to other more important areas. Civil society groups lack the resources to help form a critical mass that could pressure the government. The absence of a participatory culture leaves power in the hands of the government to make decisions on regulations, policies, and laws without input from the people. Thus, under current circumstances in Cambodia, the media are in a dependent status resulting from the interaction between a single party dominated political system, a weak economy, a weak civil society, and the absence of a participatory culture.

Figure 6: Dependency Media is the Result of Interactions of all Factors.

The discussion above indicates that the potential for establishing a PSB system in Cambodia is strongly affected by the interaction of the four main external factors: the 195

political context, the economic situation, civil society, and socio-cultural compatibility. To address the first research question, the discussion suggests that it is virtually hard, if not impossible for a developing country like Cambodia, with an authoritarian political environment, a weak economy, an underdeveloped civil society, and the absence of a participatory culture, to create a PSB system. However, research findings also show that there are indications of interest among the Cambodian population in the creation of a PSB system. These indications include a sense that PSB is needed in Cambodia because the majority of Cambodian people have rarely been exposed to unbiased, impartial news. In addition, the quality of existing broadcaster programming is low and is subject to political and corporate influences. Because of this, there is a thirst for unbiased, impartial news within Cambodian society. In addition, many people indicate that they would contribute to the operation of a truly independent broadcasting system if it serves their needs and interests. The majority of people, including members of the CPP, are optimistic that in the future PSB will become reality when the Cambodian economy is strong and the concept of PSB, including its potential for promoting democracy, human rights, justice and social development, is well understood by the public and policymakers. Thus, there are some positive signs regarding the establishment of a PSB system in Cambodia, despite the general negativity on this score. A Potential PSB System in Cambodia To take up the second research question, this subsection focuses on how a PSB system model might be introduced in Cambodia, outlining approaches to the creation of a PSB system as well as an organizational structure for a PSB system.


Approaches to the creation of a PSB system. In regard to the establishment of a PSB system, the research findings suggest two possible ways: creation of a new PSB institution and transformation of an existing state broadcaster into a PSB mode. While some research informants recommended the transformation of existing state broadcasters into PSB, the majority favored a fresh start. Both approaches have advantages and disadvantages. Transformation. Many PSB systems in developing countries, such as SABC in South Africa, and Thai PBS in Thailand, were established by transforming existing media outlets to PSB. Some argue that transformation is a good option for developing countries because they may have inadequate resources to create a new PSB system. Availability of existing resources, including funds already committed by the government, human resources already employed, and facilities in place, make transformation the preferable approach in some cases. Some informants suggested the transformation of state broadcasters TVK and NRK into a PSB system. TVK and NRK are financially supported by the national budget, and they have skilled, professional staff as well as broadcast facilities in place. For instance, informant #9 said transformation is a better choice as we already have an established station with resources and facilities. Creating a new one is difficult. We can change the existing station step by step (personal communication, June 13, 2008; authors translation). Although many post-Communist and/or developing countries prefer transformation over creation of a completely new PSB system, in many cases transformation has failed. This failure has been due to the fact that although the names of


broadcast outlets were transformed, working culture, poor facilities, over-staffing, inadequacy of funding, low quality programs, and out-of-date management remained unchanged. For instance, McDaniel (2000) pointed out that broadcast media in postCommunist countries of Central Asia operate basically unchanged from the Soviet pattern (p. 316) because the broadcasting organizations have been under the leadership of the same personalities who once served in the Communist party leadership roles and most of their staff were trained and appointed during Soviet era. Thus organizational cultures remain unchanged. In addition, informant #28 said he acknowledged transformation is a good choice due to financial and other resource constraints but he added must completely change the organizational structure, the management we structure, the financial structure, and the management team or the transformation will inevitably meet failure (personal communication, June 10, 2008; authors translation). This is the approach of establishing Thai PSB or TPBS, which some people argue that it is a new creation rather than a transformation because of the holistic reform, except building, transmissions, and other facilities. Whether it is a new creation or transformation, it can be a good example of how a PSB system is established. In Thailand, an existing network - Thailand independence television station (TITV) or (iTV) was transformed into Thai PBS (Magpanthong & McDaniel, 2009). To illustrate how Thailand was able to successfully transform an existing broadcaster into to a PSB system, I would like to provide a brief overview of how the Thai PSB came into being. According Thepchai Yong, Managing Director of Thai PSB, the idea of having public broadcasting in Thailand had been under consideration for some time (personal communication, May 28, 2008). He said channel 11, which is now known as National


Broadcasting Services of Thailand (NBT), was born as a quasi semi-public broadcaster about twenty years ago, but it could not be described as a PSB because it was part of the government propaganda machine, owned by Thai governments public relations department. NBT ended up being just a mouthpiece of the Thai government. But the Thai people felt that a real public television station was neededso iTV was established under the administration of the Prime Minister Anan Panyarachun. The birth of iTV was unusual because it was a legacy of the political uprising or the Black May incident of 1992 popular uprising against the ruling military junta, which had come to power in a coup the year before (Magpanthong & McDaniel, 2009). At that time all broadcasters in Thailand were owned by the government, directly or indirectly. Channel 5 and channel 7 were owned by the army, channel 11 was owned by the public relation department, and channel 3 as well as channel 9 were owned by Prime Minister's office. There was no independent TV station in Thailand at that time. Thepchai Yong explained that those in power at the time of the uprising ordered all the broadcasters to whitewash the incident. They did not report the shooting and beating of demonstrators by the army. When the political crisis was over, Thepchai Yong said people started demanding a truly independent broadcast station in a belief that if those in power had been held accountable by the media earlier, some of the violence and inflamed feelings could have been avoided. They felt that if there had been an independent TV station, the public would have been better informed about what was happening and that was the reason iTV was born. iTV was financed by ten stakeholders, each of whom hold an equal 10 percent of the stake, who received a shared concession to operate the station for 30 years (Magpanthong & McDaniel, 2009, p. 7).


Thepchai Yong was the first iTV news director. For many years, iTV was able to perform its duty as a truly independent broadcaster; it was aggressive in news reporting and very independent. Unfortunately, only a year after iTV was born, Thailand was hit by the 1997 financial crisis. iTV ran into serious financial trouble, and Siam Commercial Bank, which was the biggest shareholder decided to sell its holdings. Thaksin Shinawatra, a Thai millionaire then on the verge of becoming Prime Minister, decided to take over iTV. Thaksin wanted total control of the media and could not accept a TV station that was sometimes critical of him. So Thaksin changed the whole structure of the station. Instead of providing independent and unbiased news, iTV became a mouthpiece of the Thai Rak Thai Party and the Thaksin government. Because Thaksin was so confident in his political power, he amended the iTV contract, which Thailands Central Administrative Court later found violated the Joint Venture Act of 1992 (Magpanthong & McDaniel, 2009). Finally, the interim government that took power after Thaksin was overthrown by a peaceful coup dtat in 2006 decided to declare iTV illegal and take it over. When the interim government took control of iTV, NGOs, academics and journalists called for an independent broadcaster, such as a PSB system. That is how Thai PBS was born. Before Thai PBS came into being, there was a campaign to reform the whole broadcast industry. A law was passed liberalizing all airwaves. The law also mandated creation of a public service broadcaster. Thus Thai PBS came about in 2008, in large part because of the extraordinary political situation surrounding the coups in 2005 and 2006. Many people lobbied hard for a PSB system, and iTV was a good candidate for this role. Thepchai Yong also acknowledged that without these political developments,


the creation of a Thai PBS would not have been possible. He said dont think Thai PBS I would have been born under normal political circumstances (personal communication, May 28, 2008). The transformation of ITV into Thai PBS is considered a success because its management and financial scheme have changed completely. For instance, on January 23, 2008, the Public Relations Department (PRD) announced that the enactment of the PBS bill resulted in the termination of all TITV staff members employment, and the PRD ordered TITV to cease transmissions at midnight on January 14 and to dismiss every staff member as of that date (Magpanthong & McDaniel, 2009, p. 13). According to Magpanthong & McDaniel (2009), out of 835 iTV staff, who were laid off and reapplied, only 274 were rehired by TPBS (p. 13). In the regard to management, according to Thepchai Yong, the broadcasting law clearly states that a nine-member policy board must be chosen by a selection committee of 15 people, representing major groups, including media organizations, academics, and NGOs. The selection committee takes applications from people who want to be a member of the policy board. The basic idea is that the board should represent major professions, such as academics, media consumer protection groups, and management. Politicians are not eligible for membership on the board. The mandate of board members is to lay out the practical guidelines for Thai PBS, to appoint a managing director for the station, and to make sure that Thai PBS functions according to the principles of the law. The managing director sits as chairman of the executive board, whose members are also appointed by the policy board.


In addition, its funding scheme is totally independent of political and corporate influences. Thepchai Yong said Thai PBS is funded by an excise tax on tobacco and alcohol, a so-called tax. The money must come directly from the excise department sin to Thai PBS without going through the normal budgetary process to avoid any interference from politicians. Thai PBS is a completely different from other existing broadcasters as evidenced by the change of its name, the creation of a new independent policy board, the institution of an executive board, and the establishment of an independent financial mechanism. If Cambodia wants to transform state broadcasters TVK and NRK into a PSB system, this model should be considered. New creation. In general, breaking a bad habit is much more difficult than creating a new and better one. Therefore, if the opportunity presented itself, it would be preferable to create a new PSB system rather than establishing one through transformation of TVK and NRK. For instance, informant #21 said if we want a purely independent PSB system, we should create a new one because, based on the political and economic situation in Cambodia, I dont believe that transformation of TVK and NRK would result in a PSB system without political influence. But it is always good to start soon and develop a PSB system step by step (personal communication, April 30, 2008; authors translation). To sum up, presently it is impractical to think about the alternatives of transformation of an old broadcaster or creating a new one, but it is appropriate to promote awareness of the importance of a PSB system among Cambodian citizens and


government officials. With a thorough understanding of the important role a PSB system could play in supporting social development, the Cambodian people would be able to participate in a campaign to convince the government to establish it without a fear that establishing a PSB would damage its interests. This would help create the prerequisites for a PSB system and be a first step in drafting a broadcasting law that spelled out the choices between transformation and creation of a new PSB system in Cambodia. Whichever approach is taken transformation or creation of a new independent broadcast entity the two most important factors that must be considered are the organizational structure and the financial framework. In the following subsection, I will discuss a model for the organizational structure of a future PSB system in Cambodia as part of the response to the second research question. PSB organizational structure. A PSB is a public entity; it must be non-governmental and financially independent. Decisions about its mission, programming, financing, and organization should be made publicly by a politically and commercially independent body. Members of a PSBs Board of Governors should be citizens who in their role as the PSB audience provide guidance for PSB programming (Kops, 2001). A governing board is crucial for a PSB system to fulfill its mission. A Board of Governors is only able to carry out its mission when broadcasting policy is based on three principles: (1) a guarantee of system independence through an independent governing board; (2) a guarantee of adequate system funding; and (3) accountability to the public for fulfillment of its mission and its use of public resources (Eltzroth & Kenny, 2003; Jayaweera & Mottaghi, 2000). UNESCO (2001) proposes a common standard for a PSB


organizational structure; a PSB system should have two levels of management, one responsible for day-to-day business and another responsible for general policies. General policies should be made by a Board of Directors, which appoints a Chief Executive Officer (CEO), who is responsible for day-to-day business of the PSB system. The Board of Directors and its chairperson act as a buffer between the CEO and the government. PSB should be accountable to only the legislative and not the executive branch of the government (UNESCO, 2001). Rumphorst (1999) also proposes a universal model for PSB organizations. In this model, a PSB organization is operated by a Broadcasting Council, a Board of Administration and a Director General. The council consists of 12 members elected by the lower house of the parliament with a three-fourths majority. All members are apolitical and are appointed for a period of six years. The councils chairperson is elected by its members. The council appoints the Director General and the seven members of the Board of Administration, which is responsible for the day-to-day business of the PSB system. All seven members are apolitical and are appointed for a period of four years. They elect their chairperson. A Director General, who represents the PSB and is responsible for day-to-day business, is appointed by the council for a period of five years. However, Brown (1996a) argues that there is no universal model for the structure of PSB systems, which should vary according to each national setting. Brown seems to be supported by existing models, such as Thai PBS, BBC, NHK and SABC, which differ in structure widely. In addition to the Thai PBS presented above, the following is a brief description of the organizational structures of PSB systems in three other countries to show that they are different from country to country.


In the case of the BBC, under the chairmanship of Major-General Sir Frederick Sykes, the first broadcasting committee, called the Sykes Committee, was created by the Post Office in 1923 (Scannell, 2000). This committee earlier defined broadcasting as a valuable form of public property (Sykes Committee, 1923, p. 11). In 1926, under a Royal Charter, the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) was founded (Mendel, 2000). Since then, the organizational structure has remained the same. It is governed by a Board of Governors and a Director General. With recommendations from ministers, the Queen appoints the Board of Governors, which nominates the Director General (Bittner, 1980). Japans NHK, which operates five national television and three national radio services (Mendel, 2000, p. 36), is governed by a Board of Directors and a 12-member Governing Board, which make decisions on management policy and operations (Watanabe, 2006). The 12 members are appointed by the prime minister with approval from both Houses of the Diet (Mendel, 2000; Watanabe, 2006). They appoint their own chairman, president who acts as Chair of the Board of Directors and auditors. The Board of Directors has the power to dismiss the President or auditor if their performance is not satisfactory. According Mendel (2000), with the consent of both Houses, the Prime Minister has the power to dismiss any governor who does not satisfy the appointment conditions. SABC of South Africa has two separate operational entities: a pubic service broadcasting and a public service commercial broadcasting (Teer-Tomaselli & Tomaselli, 1994). According to Teer-Tomaselli and Tomaselli (1994), SABC is governed by a board that is selected through a public hearing in which all South Africans with a good background have a chance to participate. The nominations are processed by


parliaments portfolio committee on communications. With the recommendation of the National Assembly, through a public hearing, the President of the country appoints twelve non-executive members, who appoint three additional members to an Executive Committee. The three executive committee members include the Chief Executive Officer, Chief Operating Office, and Chief Financial Officer (Mendel, 2000; Teer-Tomaselli and Tomaselli, 1994). As these descriptions suggest, the organizational structure of PSB varies from country to country based on different political circumstances, economic conditions, civil society and socio-cultural compatibility. PSB governing officials must be apolitical and recruited in an equal and transparent manner. To do this, Cambodia must create a selection committee, a Broadcasting Council of Governors (BCG), and an Executive Board of Director (EBD). Selection committee. The mandate of the selection committee would be to screen and develop a list of qualified candidates for the Broadcasting Council of Governors (BCG) to be considered at a public hearing of the National Assembly. The selection committee should be composed of members from civil society groups, donors, academic institutions, and independent media organizations. In order to avoid undue political pressure, instead of specific individuals, the list would contain candidate organizations from which members of the selection committee would be chosen. This list would be narrowed and endorsed by the National Assembly. After the National Assemblys endorsement, each organization would appoint one of its staff members to serve on the selection committee as a volunteer. The selection committee should exist for only a three year period during


the start up of a PSB organization. When all BCG members have been chosen the existing selection committee would be dissolved. However, it would be recruited again at least six months before the end of the term of the existing BCG. Again, the new selection committee would exist for a three year period to screen and develop a new list of candidates for BCG to be submitted to the National Assembly for endorsement. The process of recruiting the selection committee members would be clearly spelled out by future broadcasting law. Broadcasting Council of Governors. The mandate of BCG would be to act as a policy board, to establish working guidelines for the Executive Board of Directors (EBD) and to appoint the Executive Director, who would also be chairman of EBD. The BCG should assure that the PSB system functions according to the principles of law. The BCG members should be recruited from qualified members of the public who are not politicians or active members of any political party. They should be shortlisted by the selection committee mentioned above. In the first year of its term, during the start up of a PSB organization, half of the BCG full members should be chosen and the other half should be filled in by interim members. While recruiting the other half of the BCG full members, interim members would serve until all full members of the BCG have been chosen. Staggering the selection of BCG members over a several year period insures that the terms of each group of members will end at different times. This will help to avoid influence by any unforeseen factors. Ideally, there should be nine BCG members, but this should be subject to discussion and be clearly spelled out in the law creating the PSB. Applicants for BCGs


members should be shortlisted by the selection committee in the first term. All shortlisted candidates must testify at a National Assemblys public hearing for approval with an absolute 50 percent majority through secret ballot. The final list of members chosen should be sent to the King for his endorsement. In this regard, the BCG members should be apolitical and be endorsed by the King, who is considered a neutral person. Oum Weachiravuth, Deputy Director of Cabinet of H.M. the King Norodom Sihamoni, said that he was personally supportive of the establishment of a PSB system in Cambodia, and he supported endorsement of the BCG members by the King (personal communication, June 19, 2008). According to informant #28, BCG members must have a variety of skills, such as law, finance, management, and broadcasting (personal communication, June 10, 2008; authors translation). They should elect its chairman, and they would serve for fiveyear period that is different from the election cycle of the National Assembly in order to avoid political influence. Each BCG member would be limited to a single consecutive term. Some informants were concerned that involving the National Assembly in the choice of BCG members would make it difficult to avoid political influence from the ruling CPP party, which has a majority of seats and would be able to block any BCG e candidate they did not like. Informant #13 said th National Assembly is another problem as it is a proportional system. They will put pressure on candidates. We must send the list of proposed BCG members to the King directly without going through the National Assembly (personal communication, June 6, 2008; authors translation). Several other informants also suggested that the finalists be sent directly from the


selection committee or existing BCG to the King to assure the independence of the PSB system. Executive Board of Directors. The EBD, under the direction of the Executive Director, should supervise day-today operation of the PSB. The EBD members, who are media professionals, would be recruited from qualified members of the public who are not active members of any political party. Applications must be sent directly to the BCG, which would appoint the members of the EBD. In addition to the Executive Director, members of the EBD should fill the following positions: (1) Deputy Executive Director for Administration and Human Resources, (2) Deputy Executive Director for Finance, (3) Deputy Executive Director for Public Relations and Marketing, (4) Deputy Executive Director for News and Programming, (5) Deputy Executive Director for Research and Resources, (6) Deputy Executive Director for Engineering and Facilities. Thus, the EBD should be composed of at least seven members. They should not have fixed terms, but the BCG, with a three fourths majority, should be able to terminate any executive committee member who under-performs or violates any regulation set forth by the BCG. Their mandate should be clearly spelled out in the law creating the PSB system. PSB Financial Framework This subsection is intended to answer the third research question, which focuses on sources of funding that are available to support and sustain a PSB system to separate it from outside influences so that it can be a neutral institution that serves the interests of the entire population.


As noted earlier, a proper financial framework is vital in assuring that PSB is not influenced by politics and/or corporation interests. According to the European Broadcasting Union (2000), OHagan & Jennings (2003), and Witherspoon & Kovitz (2000), funding is a central issue for a PSB organization. Stiles and Weeks (2006) say that, in addition to a lack of political will, many countries have found that one of the major challenges for establishing PSB systems is insufficient funding to sustain its operations. In a working paper prepared for the Asia-Pacific Institute for Broadcasting Development (AIBD), Kops (2000, 2001) suggests that the behavior and output of PSB systems are driven by their revenue structure, not by their legal basis. He points out that there are three types of revenue structures: market funded, government funded, and nonprofit organizations or public revenue funded. In addition, the European Broadcasting Union (2000) points out that the choice of funding framework influences the operation of PSB organizations, especially their content. Public donations are the best revenue source, but if this is insufficient, supplemental governmental and commercial revenues should be considered (Kops, 2000, 2001). He adds that a license fee is not a satisfactory funding framework for PSB organizations because the payment is controlled by the government administrative apparatus; this creates an opportunity for the government to manipulate the PSB system. However, if the license fee goes directly to the PSB organization and does not pass through the government this concern is alleviated (Kops, 2000, 2001). Scannell (2000) suggests two funding methods: license fees, which are used by the BBC and the NHK, and advertising, which is used in South Africa and some countries in Europe. These organizations funding will be discussed in detail shortly.


Similarly, Rumphorst (1999) said that the bulk of PSB revenue should derive from license fees, supplemented by advertising, sponsorship and government subsidies. The current sources of U.S. public broadcasting funding are Congressional appropriation, underwriting, public contributions, and other types of sponsorship, but the Carnegie Commission suggested alternative funding sources: (1) taxes on TV sets; (2) taxes on advertising; (3) set asides from taxes on commercial broadcasting; and (4) spectrum fees (A public trust: the landmark report of the Carnegie Commission on the future of public broadcasting, 1979). However, these alternative sources of funding have so far not been adopted. As mentioned above, financial frameworks of PSB systems vary from country to country. Funding sources for PSB in four countries Britain, Japan, South Africa, and Thailand are briefly described below. The BBC has two major branches: The domestic and the World Service. These two branches are financed separately. According to Mendel (2000), the major source of funding for BBC domestic services is annual license revenues, which account for more than 80 percent of the total budget; the rest comes from commercial activities and other sources (p. 53). The BBC World Service receives 89 percent of its total budget from the Parliament (Mendel, 2000, p. 53). However, the BBC will take over responsibility for funding the BBC World Service from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in 2014 (Lyall, 2011). This means the BBC and the BBC World Service will be both funded from the license fee from 2014 (BBC Trust, 2011). The NHK of Japan is regarded as a non-profit institution; therefore it cannot accept commercial revenue or broadcast commercial advertising. Mendel (2000) said


Japanese citizens who own broadcast receivers must pay NHK a fee, which is the only source of NHK revenue. In 1999, the NHK received 98 percent of its budget from license fees (Mendel, 2000, p. 40). The SABC of South Africa consists of two services: commercial and public. The SABC has many funding sources. These include advertising, sponsorships, license fees, and subscriptions. While license fees cover about 13 percent of operational costs, commercial advertising contributes more than 76 percent and government subsidies add about 10 percent (Mendel, 2000, p. 45, 54). As noted previously, Thai PBS of Thailand is totally funded by taxes on tobacco and alcohol, commonly referred to as sin tax. Thepchai Yong, Thai PBS Managing Director, said the law is very specific that every month and every quarter of the year, each of the excise units in the country must transfer 1.5 percent of the sin tax to the bank account of the Thai PBS (personal communication, May 28, 2008). If these transfers are not made, the law spells out specific punishments, including jail terms and fines. However, Thepchai Yong said Thai PBSs revenue is limited to 2 billion baht ($61,623,825). Thai PBS can also receive funding from other sources such as voluntary contributions. So far, Thepchai Yong said, Thai PBS has depended totally on sin tax revenue. As noted above, it is clear that financial frameworks vary from country to country. For instance, voluntary contributions are a major source of funding for U.S. public broadcasting, but this is not widely accepted in such a developing country as Cambodia because many Cambodians still live below the poverty line, and they are not accustomed to making voluntary contributions for such purposes. Based on the research


findings, in addition to voluntary contributions from private citizens, other forms of funding, such as commercial revenue or underwriting, contributions by private broadcasting, taxes, license and utility fees, and sponsorships or donations, should be considered if a PSB system is established in Cambodia. Commercial revenue or underwriting. Commercial revenue can benefit public broadcasting a great deal. In the United States in particular, commercial financing in the form of corporate sponsorship, or underwriting, contributes significantly to support for public broadcasting, alongside federal funding and member contributions, which are the principal sources of funding. Although underwriting and commercial advertising are somewhat different, they seem the same to some audiences and serve the same purposes. Underwriting may show a sponsors logo or a picture of its product, with no inducement to buy. Some public broadcasting leaders in the United States have suggested that in order to compete with cable networks for audience and to grow, the private sector would be a lucrative funding source for public broadcasting. One of those leaders was Michael Hardgrove, KETC's (Kentucky) President and CEO, who said "I support the notion of public television being able to use advertising. Just to stay even, there have to be viable new revenue sources. I think you have to try it" (as cited in Kolbert, 1995, Section C, p. 13). On Capitol Hill, the pressure to accept commercial advertising is growing. Consequently, the Senate explicitly endorsed advertising as an additional source of revenue in 1995 (Kolbert, 1995). The FCC allows underwriting by corporations, which can portray their images as supporters of public broadcasting programs. As a result, while membership contributed 26.1%, underwriting contributed 15.1% of public broadcastings total revenue for FY2003


(Ickes, 2006, p. 10). Commercial revenue is considered when the availability of public funding is inadequate; this helps reduce the public funding needed to fulfill the public broadcasting mission and provides an alternative source of revenue. With advertising revenue, PSB is able to facilitate program production and acquisition, strengthen its independence from government, reduce political influence, and protect against marginalization as a minority interest service (European Broadcasting Union, 2000). However, a majority of public broadcasting station managers in the United States argue that advertising is not compatible with public broadcasting (Kolbert, 1995). This is due to the fact that they are afraid that commercial revenue would negatively affect PSB in fulfilling its mission. As proposed by OHagan & Jennings (2003), a PSB station that has less commercial revenue is less exposed to commercial pressures and better fulfills its public service function. In addition, accepting commercial advertising may hurt voluntary contributions because it suggests to audiences that PSB is no different from commercial broadcasting. FCCs Temporary Commission on Alternative Financing (TCAF) has also expressed concern about commercial revenue by recommending against full-fledged commercial advertising. This is due to several factors: (1) underwriting may hinder traditional revenue sources, namely audience contributions and government aid (Kolbert, 1995); (2) programming decisions of PSB, which is supposed to serve the public interest, could be influenced by market forces (Avery and Stavitsky, 2000). The points outlined above are a useful reference for Cambodian policymakers and legislators to consider in drafting a PSB law. If PSB were established in Cambodia, a majority of informants in this study recommended commercials as one source of revenue. At the moment, commercial advertisements are the only major revenue sources for


broadcasters in Cambodia. When the PSB concept was introduced during data collection for this study, many informants felt that commercials in the form of underwriting should be one possible source of income. However, informants were also concerned about corporate influence on the newly established PSB, which is designed to be independent and to serve the public interest exclusively. Therefore, revenue from corporate sponsorships ideally should be limited to 25 percent of total PSB revenue. Compulsory contribution by private broadcasters. Some respondents felt that private broadcasters should contribute to the operation of PSB as part of their public service obligation. For instance, informant #13 said w e might require private broadcasting to pay to finance PSB. Most of their programs are for commercial purposes. It is necessary that they contribute to financing a broadcaster that serves public interests (personal communication, June 6, 2008; authors translation). Responding to this, the majority of broadcast station representatives I interviewed said they would agree to contribute if they were required to do so by law. On the other hand, Information Minister Khieu Kanharith was pessimistic about this approach. He said taking money from private stations is not possible because they do not have much income (personal communication, May 3, 2008; authors translation). Although private broadcasters contributions are not a sustainable source of funding, they should be taken into consideration as a supplementary financial source when drafting the legislation establishing PSB. License and utility fees. License fees have been traditional sources of funding for PSB organizations, such as BBC, NHK, and SABC. However, research findings indicate that license fees may not


be appropriate in a developing country such as Cambodia because of widespread poverty and possible corruption in the fee collection process. According to ordinary citizen informants, they could contribute to the operation of an independent broadcaster such as PSB if paying such a fee were required by law. They prefer paying monthly, rather than annually, similar to a utility bill, such as for water or electricity. Findings indicate that Cambodian Electricity or Electricit du Cambodge (EDC) should be the institution that collects the license fee for the PSB system because the more people watch TV, the more electricity they consume. Therefore, if a license fee is introduced, it should be applied only to households with TV sets and the EDC should collect the bill because the fee can be included in the utility bill. However, some people remain pessimistic about the viability of relying on license fees in a poor country like Cambodia. Any political party which proposes the use of a license fee will be attacked by other parties for not focusing on more basic needs of the population and risk losing popular support. The license fee issue might even be used by its opponents as a vehicle for gaining political advantage. For instance, in 2009, Chheang Von, Chairman of the National Assemblys Commission of Information, Foreign Affairs, and International Cooperation, proposed a license fee, but prime minister Hun Sen opposed the initiative immediately, arguing that people are poor, and they deserve free access to broadcasting. Introduction of the license fee concept would not be appropriate at this time because it is not well understood by either policymakers or the public. Taxes. Imposing taxes and collecting them is problematic in Cambodia because much money raised from taxes is lost through corruption. Cambodia ranks 154 out of 178


nations on corruption (Transparency International, 2010). Antoine Heuty, deputy director of Revenue Watch Institute, based in New York, stated that the tax and customs departments in Cambodia are very corrupt because officials there are underpaid (personal communication, August 20, 2009). He said if you have civil servants that are paid almost nothing, and they are supposed to collect millions from a company, its not going to work. I mean, its difficult to have a system that is functional if you have this type of situation, where the state is not looking forward to fulfilling its role. I think that is another challenge for the country; how to develop a capable state thats ready to collect the money and then deploy it. However, despite the broken tax system, revenue from taxes should be the most important source for financing PSB in a developing country like Cambodia. A small tax on a particular product, like the 1.5 percent sin tax used to fund Thai PBS, could help reduce the burden of paying a license fee for ordinary Cambodians. The majority of policymakers questioned for this study agreed that tax is a very good source of PSB financing. In addition, many informants said the Thai system of funding PSB is a good example. They felt that the Cambodian government is capable of doing this under the proper circumstances. Applying the Thai model for financing PSB requires strong political will and legislation that spells out clearly the responsibilities of the agencies involved, in order to avoid political influence. To meet this goal, a certain percentage tax should be levied on a particular product, and this should be clearly established by the legislation creating PSB. These funds should go directly into a PSB account at the end of


each month, without passing through normal state budgetary process. Since this is a new concept for both policymakers and the public, it will take some time for them to become familiar with the process, even if the hurdles to its introduction can been surmounted. This financial framework may be the best for developing countries. However, it requires all actors to understand the concept well and to move it forward. This will be a huge challenge for a developing country like Cambodia, where the prerequisites for PSB seem to be largely absent. Donations. Cambodia depends heavily on international aid and donations. The international community and foreign governments have helped Cambodia directly as well as indirectly through not-for-profit organizations and foundations. The reliance on these international sources of finance creates what has been called a Cambodian dependency syndrome. Jameson (2010) cites Sabrine Tranin, a NGO worker with extensive experience in the country, who has likened Cambodia to a patient on a drip tube, with foreign assistance providing the vital nutrients to keep it alive. Jameson (2010) argues that foreign aid is the fourth pillar of the economy, along with tourism, the garment industry and agriculture. He said the foreign aid s upplies assistance amounting to about one quarter of the GDP and accounting for more than half of the annual public budget. Without this aid Cambodia would be unable to sustain its present economy. (p. 5). While donor practices are common in some developed countries (i.e. private contributions/donations greatly constitute to NPRs revenues in the United States), excessive reliance on donations can create dependence in developing countries like Cambodia, reducing their ability to become self-sufficient in the longer term. Cambodia's heavy dependence on foreign


assistance and donations to sustain basic government operations may make reliance on voluntary contributions from domestic sources to support the operations of PSB more difficult for Cambodians to accept. Thus using voluntary donations as a source of PSB financing may not be viable for Cambodia. The study findings suggest that international assistance and donations are one possible source of funding for start-up and capacity building for a newly established PSB. Many international organizations and foundations, such as KAF, UNESCO, EU, World Bank, BBC World Service Trust, UNDP, NDI, IRI, and IJF are potential donors for PSB and some of them have already helped to promote media professionalism in Cambodia. For instance, informant #15 of BBC World Service Trust, Cambodia, said BBC helps with capacity building, production and equipment for partner stations, and they, in turn, provide us free airtime for our shows, such as TV dramas (personal communication, May 8, 2008; authors translation). The EU also provides support to the media as well as other social groups, such as judges, police and school teachers. Organizations, such as KAF and UNESCO, also expressed strong interest in assisting the start-up of PSB. Both KAF and UNESCO have already helped to promote media professionalism by providing funding for media training/education programs. While UNESCO could help fund PSB programs, KAF might provide experts on legal issues and capacity building. UNESCO might also consider helping with the start-up costs of PSB as well. UNESCO at the moment is working on establishing community radio in the northeastern part of Cambodia in order to introduce public health care and education through radio programs in languages of the native ethnic minorities living in that region. The World Bank would also consider


support for the establishment of PSB if the government requests this. IRI has already helped by funding CCiMs VOD programs. It thus appears that donations from international and UN organizations and foundations can be a good source of funding for Cambodia and other developing countries whose political situation, economic conditions, civil society, and socio-cultural environment are similar. When the time comes to consider establishment of a PSB system, potential donors, such as KAF, UNESCO, EU, the World Bank, BBC World Service Trust, UNDP, NDI, IRI, and IJF, as well as other bilateral development agencies, should be approached for assistance, although most of them could not directly finance the PSB organization, PSB Program Funding The fourth research question, which focuses on how PSB programs should be produced and funded so that they are not under political and commercial influences, is addressed in this subsection. Program content is the most crucial area of broadcasting. Raboy (1998) mentions that to be successful, all PSB systems need to be program driven. By this, he means PSB must broadcast with the purpose of enhancing quality of the public life, empowering individuals and social groups to participate more fully and equitably (Raboy, 1998, p. 173). According to Varney (2004), PSB should produce a diverse range of quality programming, which can be made available to all citizens regardless of their financial situation. According to Varney (2004) it is critical that PSB programs be free from interference by governments and corporations regardless of their source of funding. In addition, all programming for PSB must meet the needs of the local public (Macy, 1969). According to Jowell (2001), a successful PSB system depends on a


variety of factors, such as dive rsity, high quality, education, innovation, entertainment, information, original production, accessibility, inclusion of minorities and free access (as cited in Biltereyst, 2004, p. 352). Since PSB can be a major source of accurate, impartial, and independent information (Graham and Davies, 1997), it is crucial that it be accessible to everyone in the country. According to Graham and Davies (1997), well-informed and self-motivated individuals are central to a democratic society; therefore, a PSB system has a dual responsibility because PSB programs must not only increase understanding and create knowledge, but also ensure that knowledge provided correctly represents the world as they know it. Since corporate sponsors are always interested in the audience, this could induce PSB to develop a programming policy that is more concerned about maximizing audiences than about public interest (European Broadcasting Union, 2000). In this case programs that serve minority interests may be neglected while popular programs may be prioritized and broadcast in prime time. Brown (1996a) points out that the relationship between PSB and its audience is a relationship between public institutions and citizens, not between suppliers and consumers. Too much reliance on commercial advertising can lead to a situation where, because of influence from corporate sponsorships, there is no distinction between public broadcasting and commercial broadcasting. The study findings suggest that in order for PSB to be independent of sponsors, it needs to have a program sponsorship policy, stating that PSB does not accept funding for more than 25% of its total annual budget from any individual sponsor. Alternatively, PSB may accept financial assistance only as a package, without a linkage to any particular


programs. Another approach is to randomly select sponsors without any relationship to the programs involved. The process of random selection may be made on a monthly or quarterly basis. This prevents sponsors from influencing PSBs editorial or program decisions. This concept is supported by many informants of this study. For instance, informant #27 commented that once a broadcaster is financially independent, its program decisions are independent. Sources of funding influence broadcasting content. Randomly selecting programs for sponsors makes broadcasters independent of sources of funding (personal communication, May 13, 2008; Authors translation). Furthermore, study findings suggest that independent production houses can be alternative places for outsourcing to prevent excessive sponsor influence on programming; outsourcing PSB programs helps not only to prevent PSB program content from being influenced by source of funding, but it may also improve the quality of programming and be more cost-effective. Conclusion It is hard to set up a PSB system in a developing country like Cambodia where politics is dominated by a single party oligarchy, the economy is weak and underdeveloped, civil society institutions have yet to take strong root, and there is no tradition of popular participation in decision making. The absence of these four factors creates conditions in which the media are dependent and vulnerable to manipulation by political and commercial influences. Cambodia, at this stage, lacks the prerequisites for a PSB system even though an independent broadcaster of this sort is badly needed to promote democracy, human rights, the rule of law, social justice, and socio-economic development. While PSB is possible in a mature democratic country, it is less likely to be


viable in a developing country, where the preconditions for an impartial and unbiased news broadcaster are largely non-existent even though this is critical for eventual progress toward democracy and social justice. It is like a chicken and egg debate: a mature democracy is a prerequisite for establishing a PSB system, making this very difficult even though such a system is needed to build the conditions for democracy. The study findings show that the four external factors political circumstances, economic conditions, civil society, and socio-cultural compatibilityplay an important role in creating the conditions for introduction of a PSB system in a developing country. Among the four factors, politics is the most important. With political will, funding would not be difficult to obtain because a small tax on particular products would be adequate for the funding of a PSB system. With revenue from such a tax, there would be no need for a license fee, which is a classic source of revenue for PSB. With a certain percentage of the proceeds from this tax transferred directly to the PSB account, it could be independent from outside influences. It can be concluded that an independent PSB system can be introduced in a developing country when its ruling party is no longer completely confident of winning the next national election or when there is a political transition. If the ruling party is confident in holding power for a long time, it will likely use the existing media system to victimize its opponents and will not allow the establishment of an independent media for fear that this could harm its popularity by revealing scandals and criticizing its policy actions. However, if the ruling party is uncertain about winning the future election, it may consider reforming the media system because it does not want to be victimized by its political opponents if they win power through election. At the same time, if the


opposition party wins the election, there appears to be a good chance of creating an independent broadcaster like PSB because it is already aware of the potential for being victimized by a politically controlled media system. Thus, uncertainty by the ruling party about winning the next election and the prospect of a political transition contributes to creating the conditions for the introduction of a PSB system. Establishment of the Thai PBS system during an interim government is a good example of how this can take place. Recommendations for Future Research There are several areas worthy of further research. In addition to those briefly noted in the limitations of the study in Chapter 3, the following may be worth considering. This study focuses primarily on exploring the possibility of establishing PSB in Cambodia by looking at four external factors: politics, the economy, civil society and socio-cultural compatibility. Other factors, such as technology, the Internet, globalization, and foreign media input, which may also influence the possibility of establishing a PSB system in Cambodia, have not been covered by this study. It may be useful for future research to explore the influence of those factors as well. In addition, it would be useful to have a quantitative survey on public attitudes toward PSB in order to determine the demand for such a broadcast system in Cambodia. This would be useful to policymakers in making decisions about whether PSB should be established in Cambodia. An in-depth study of possible financial models for a PSB should also be conducted to assist policymakers in drafting legislation to establish PSB so that it can spells out clearly the sources of PSB funding.


Recommendations for Practitioners This study may help to provide a better understanding of how a PSB system would be affected by the four factors, and how it can be introduced in a developing country. In order to establish PSB in a developing country, such as Cambodia, the concept of PSB must be explained and promoted among policymakers and the public. Lack of understanding regarding the important role PSB can play in advancing socioeconomic development, strengthening democracy, enhancing social justice, and expanding freedom of expression and the press in Cambodia presents a major challenge. Many members of the public and most policymakers, media practitioners, and civil society representatives in Cambodia were not even aware that PSB exists in the world, but they strongly recommended that the concept be explained to the public in Cambodia. The concept could be promoted through soap operas, TV or radio stories, roundtable discussions, workshops, seminars, and hosting a regional conference on PSB with outside experts invited to discuss the subject. Once members of the public and policymakers understand the PSB concept, they will be in a better position to rally support and encourage the government to consider creating a PSB system that is owned by the public, is run by the public, and serves the public interest. When policymakers, especially government officials, understand the PSB concept clearly, they may no longer see PSB as being harmful to them, but rather view it as an aid to policy formulation and implementation through the unbiased, impartial and objective information it provides. Second, a broadcasting law including specific legislation for PSB must be enacted. Without a broadcasting law and specific legal underpinning for PSB, it is hardly


to be made a reality. Many policymakers in Cambodia still think the existing press law, which was made specifically for print media, can be applied to all forms of media. Third, if PSB is created, it should have sub-headquarters. Each sub-headquarters would represent a specific region. Dividing the country into regions would make it easier to manage PSB through the concept of decentralization and localization in terms of funding and programming. Each region has its own specific characteristics, and it is crucial that PSB cover the issues that best serve the needs and interests of the people in that region. Fourth, a percentage of the tax on a particular product should be a sustainable source of PSB funding, and it should go to a PSB account directly without passing through the normal budgetary process in order to avoid political influence. The government should be able to do this as its part of social responsibility. Fifth, sponsors and/or any sources of funding should not be allowed to sponsor specific programs, but programs related to their objectives. Random selection of the programs on a monthly or quarterly basis for sponsors should be a good strategy as well. By doing this, PSB content would not be influenced by sponsors. I was surprised to learn that even ordinary citizens in remote areas were aware that Cambodian broadcasters are under political control, and that they thirst for impartial, unbiased news. Consequently, although I acknowledge that Cambodia lacks preconditions for the establishment of a PSB system, the eagerness of the public for social development prompts me to strongly recommend that a PSB system be established in Cambodia. Such a media system would fulfill the wishes of Cambodian people and help promote human rights, social justice, and democracy, while also promoting freedom


of expression, and socio-economic development. The government would also gain greatly from a PSB system because the news and programs the PSB system would present would be useful in gaining public participation in decision making, policy formulation, and implementation. In addition, the government would definitely be seen as more fully practicing democracy due to the greater promotion of freedom of press and expression through independent media such as PSB. Even though this time might not be the right moment for the government to consider creation of PSB, in the long run, when the importance of the PSB is well understood among all stakeholders, including policymakers, donor countries, NGOs, civil society, and of course the Cambodian people, one can be optimistic that PSB will become a reality.


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Appendix A: Sample of an Invitation Letter Mr./Ms. Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Dear : .. 2008

I am writing to invite you to participate in my doctoral dissertation research, Public A Service Broadcasting Model for Developing Countries: The Case of Cambodia. My name is Im Sothearith, a doctoral candidate in Mass Communication at Ohio University. I am now working on a dissertation research, which aims at exploring the prerequisites for the establishment of a PSB model in developing countries, using Cambodia as a case study. This is a qualitative study and data will be gathered through the analysis of primary documents, in-depth interviews with a number of key public figures in Cambodia and focus groups among Cambodian media audiences in four regions. I, therefore, would like to invite you to participate, on a voluntary basis, in this study. I would need only an half an hour or one hour of your time. You can also decide to withdraw from the study at any time or decline to answer any interview questions which is uncomfortable you. This is a risk free study and no compensation is made for participating in this study. However, the study will benefit everyone a great deal because it explores the possibility of creating a public service broadcasting that broadcasts impartial, informational, educational, and entertaining programs without an interruption of commercial advertising, which have never been experienced before. If you agree to participate in this study, I would like to schedule the meeting at your convenience from .. to .. 2008. I will be back to the State on 2008. Please kindly get back to me via Thank you for your consideration. Sincerely yours, Im Sothearith Ph.D. Candidate School of Media Arts and Studies Ohio University E-mail.


Appendix B: Sample of the Letter to Thank Participants Mr/Ms Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Dear..: .., 2008

I am writing to express my sincere thanks to you for participating in my doctoral dissertation research, Public Service Broadcasting Model for Developing Countries: The Case of Cambodia. You might have been aware that this research aims at exploring the prerequisites for the establishment of a PSB model in developing countries, using Cambodia as a case study. In addition, it is also to explore the most feasible organizational structure for day-to-day operation of a PSB system in Cambodia, and a policy for sustainable financial schemes of a PSB system in Cambodia. This is a qualitative study and its data will be gathered through: (1) in-depth interviews with a number of stakeholders; (2) focus groups conducted in four regions (Phnom Penh, Sihanouk Ville, Siem Reap, Stung Treng); and (3) the analysis of primary documents. You have contributed a great deal to my dissertation. I hope you will continue and/or consider supporting the PSB establishment in the future. Once again, I would like to express my profound thanks for your input in this study. Sincerely yours, Im Sothearith, Ph.D. Candidate School of Media Arts and Studies Ohio University E-mail.


Appendix C: List of Research Informants No 1 2 3 Institution TV3, KCS Cambodia Co. Ltd. World Bank Commission of Economic, Finance of National Assembly, Cambodian People Party. Focus Group Phnom Penh Focus Group Siem Reap Focus Group Sihanouk Ville Focus Group Stung Treng Cambodia Television Network (CTN) National TV of Cambodia (TVK) Bayon TV Radio 103 National TV of Cambodia (TVK) Human Rights Party FUNCINPEC Party BBC World Service Trust, Cambodia Ministry of Information Voice of America (51-60) (61-70) (31-40) (41-50) (51-60) (51-60) (51-60) (31-40) (61-70) (31-40) Age 31-40 31-40 61-70 Position Producer & Sale Representative Representative Chairman and Representative Misc. 06/04/2008 at 8:30am 06/17/2008 at 9am 06/10/2008 at 3pm Politics Media Rep CPP Media Professional CPP/lawma ker

4 5

6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17

M2 (41-50), M1 (51-60), F4 (17-30) = 7 M 2 (17-30), M1(41-50), F4 (17-30), F1 (41-50) =8 M2 (17-30), M2 (51-60) F4 = 8 (17-30) =8 M2 (41-50) M2 (17-30), F3 (17-30) =7 Representative Representative Representative Representative Representative Representative Representative Representative Representative VOA Reporter 246

06/17/2008 at 3pm 05/11/2008

Ordinary Citizens Ordinary Citizens Ordinary Citizens Ordinary Citizens Media Rep CPP Media Professional Media Rep CPP Media Rep CPP Media Rep CPP Opposition Opposition Media Pro CPP/Pol Media Pro

05/17/2008 05/31/2008 06/05/2008 at 4:30pm 06/13/2008 at 5pm 05/20/2008 at 2pm. 06/11/2008 at 3pm 05/09/2008 at 8:30am 06/06/2008 at 8am 06/07/2008 at 4pm 05/08/2008 at 4pm 05/03/2008 at 9:30am 06/11/2008 at 1:30pm

18 19 20

Beehive Radio FM 105 Cambodian TV Association Ministry of Women Affairs and Sam Rainsy Party

(61-70) (61-70) (51-60)

Representative Representative Former Minister of Womens Affairs, and Deputy SecretaryGeneral Representative News Editor, Thai PBS (Thailand) Representative Representative Representative

06/05/2008 at 8:30am 05/23/2008 at 9am 06/13/2008 at 10am

Media Rep Opposition CPP/Pol Opposition

21 22 23 24 25

Norodom Ranariddh Party Thai PBS Royal Palace Cambodge Soir Reaksmei Kampuchea Newspaper/Club of Cambodia Journalist The Delegation of the European Commission to Cambodia Cambodian League for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights (LICADHO) Kyodo News The Delegation of the European Commission to Cambodia - Apsara TV - Cambodian Radio Radio Free Asia: Khmer Service National Assemblys Commission of

(41-50) (31-40) (51-60) (41-50) (41-50)

04/30/2008 at 10am 05/27/2008 at 11am 06/19/2008 at 3:30pm 05/07/2008 at 4pm 05/07/2008 at 10am 06/03/2008 at 11am 05/13/2008 at 3pm. 06/10/ 2008 at 12pm 06/03/2008 at 10am 06/04/2008 at 2:30pm 06/06/2008 at 12pm 05/06/2008 at 10am

Opposition Media Pro/Int Royal Palace Media Professional Media Association Media Professional Civil Society Media Professional Internationa l govt Media Rep CPP Media Professional Opposition/ Lawmaker







28 29

(41-50) (51-60)

Representative Representative

30 31 32

(61-70) (51-60) (51-60)

Representative Representative Representative 247

33 34 35 36 37

Foreign Affairs, International Cooperation, Propaganda and Information. Thai PBS UNESCO Department of Media and Communication Womens Media Center Cambodian Senates Commission of Foreign Affairs, International Cooperation, Propaganda and Information. Cambodian Association for the Protection of Journalists Konrad Adenauer Foundation US Embassy to Cambodia Department of Media and Communication, RUPP Cambodian Center for Independence Media

(51-60) (51-60) (31-40) (51-60) (61-70)

Representative Representative Representative Representative Representative

05/28/2008 at 4pm 05/03/2008 at 11am 05/22/2008 at 10:30am 05/14/2008 at 3pm 05/08/2008 at 10am

Media Pro/Int Internationa l Org. Media Academic Media Rep Independent CPP/lawma ker




05/22/2008 at 4:30pm 05/02/2008 at 2:30pm 07/05/2007 at 3pm 05/22/2008 06/20/2008 at 2pm

Media Association Internationa l Org Internationa l Govt. Media Academic Civil Society

39 40 41 42

(61-70) (41-50) 31-40 (41-50)

Country Representative Representative Represent Representative Representative


Appendix D: Interview Guide In-depth Interview Broadcasting Situation Brief introduction of BBC, NHK, SABC, and Thai PBS to interviewees before ask them questions. 1. What do you think about broadcasting situation in Cambodia? 2. Problems? Why? Recommendations? 3. Could you tell me more about broadcasting programs? 4. What do you want to see Cambodian broadcasting to be? 5. What kinds of broadcasting programs do you want? 6. What form of broadcasting should Cambodia have? Why? Law and regulations 1. Please tell me about Cambodias broadcasting law and regulations in general if there is any. 2. If there are any broadcasting laws or regulations, please tell me how do broadcast media operate under the existing legislation, but if there are not broadcasting laws and regulations, how do broadcasting media operate without them? Would Cambodia need broadcasting laws? Why? Why not? 3. Who licenses current broadcasting? 4. Why broadcasting has to be license by (name of licensing institution)? 5. Please tell me about licensing issue in general. 6. Tell me whether PSB act should be enacted? Why? Why not?


Organizational Structure 1. How is PSBs governing body created in order to avoid political and corporate influences? 2. Who will be on the PSBs governing board? 3. How to recruit them? 4. What qualification? Why? 5. What roles they will play? Financing issue 1. How are current broadcasters financed? 2. Please tell me about the financial situation of broadcasters in Cambodia (for broadcast station representatives)? 3. Tell me financial situation of your station in particular (for broadcast station representatives)? 4. What are financial sources does your station have (for broadcast station representatives)? 5. If there is a PSB system, will you be able to financially contribute to a PSB system? In what way (for broadcast station and donor representatives)? 6. How do you want a PSB system to be financed? 7. How can public or government funding be used to avoid political influence? 8. Tell me more about voluntary contribution? 9. What about license fees? Is it possible? Why? Why not? 10. How about underwriting/sponsorship? 11. What about foundation and NGOs funding?


Focus Group Discussion Brief introduction of BBC, NHK, SABC, and Thai PBS to interviewees before discussion. 1. Tell me what you do in your free time. 2. Tell me what kind of information you share with your family members or friends. 3. Tell me what you think about the existing broadcasting situation in Cambodia at the present time. 4. Tell me how you get news. 5. What do you think about broadcast programs in Cambodia now? 6. What kinds of broadcast programs do you want to listen to and/or watch? Why? 7. What benefits do you expect from broadcasting? 8. What do you think about the forms of broadcasting briefly described early? Would it be useful to be established in Cambodia? Why? Why not? 9. Tell me whether you are able to pay license fees for a PSB if you are required? Why? Why not? 10. How do you want to contribute to PSB? 11. Tell me whether you want to participate in program production/production process? Why? Why not? 12. Are you involved in any decision making or policy making process in any level? Why do you think you should be involved? Why not? 13. How do you want to be involved in decision making on PSB operation and its programming? How? 14. Tell me how the PSB should be established and operated in Cambodia. 251

Appendix E: Terms and Abbreviation ADB ADHOC AUSAID BBC CAPJ CCC CCHR CCI CCiM CCJ CDC CIDA BCG CPB CPP CR Critical Mass DC-Cam DFID DMC EBD ECCC EDC EU FCC FUNCINPEC Asian Development Bank Cambodia Human Rights and Development Association Australian Agency for International Development British Broadcasting Corporation Cambodia Association for the Protection of Journalists Cooperation Committee for Cambodia Cambodian Center for Human Rights Cambodia Communication Institute Cambodian Center for Independence Media Club of Cambodian Journalists Cambodia Development Council Canadian International Development Agency Broadcasting Council of Governors Corporation for Public Broadcasting Cambodian Peoples Party Cambodian Riel A group of people who are knowledgeable about an issue to advocate and actively involved in all kinds of debates, politically and socially. Documentation Center of Cambodia British Government's Department for International Development Department of Media and Communication Executive Board of Directors Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia Electricit du Cambodge European Union Federal Communication Commission Front Uni National pour un Cambodge Indpendant, Neutre, Pacifique, et Coopratif, or "National United Front for an Independent, Neutral, Peaceful, and Cooperative Cambodia." 252


Human Rights Party International Journalism Federation International Monetary Fund The International Republican Institute Konrad Adenauer Foundation Khmer Rouge Cambodian League for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights Member of Parliament The National Assembly The National Democratic Institute Nippon Hs Kykai, National Radio of Kampuchea Norodom Ranaridh Party Public Broadcasting Service Press Council of Cambodia Public Service Announcement Public Service Broadcasting Radio Free Asia Royal University of Phnom Penh South African Broadcasting Corporation Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency State of Cambodia By socio-cultural compatibility in this study, I mean to explore whether Cambodian society and culture are compatible to the existing applied in Cambodian socio-cultural context.

Compatibility traditional models of PSB or whether the concept of PSB can be SRP TCAF TPBS TVK Sam Rainsy Party Temporary Commission on Alternative Financing Thai Public Broadcasting Service Television of Kampuchea (National TV) 253


United Nations Center for Human Rights United Nations Development Program United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization United Nations Transitional Authority in Cambodia The United States Agency for International Development Voice of America Voice of Democracy Womens Media Center of Cambodia