07 May 2010


Who censored Chea Vichea?

The Phnom Penh Post takes on a question we've been wondering about: On what basis did the Cambodian authorities stop the unions' May Day screening of Who Killed Chea Vichea? 

Reasons cited in the article include:
Phnom Penh officials ... demanded that organisers obtain approval from “relevant ministries” that was never granted. 
An Interior Ministry spokesman said the foreign-produced film had been “illegally imported.” 
The Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts stated that it must approve all films screened in Cambodia. 
An undersecretary of state for Culture, Kong Kantara, added:
“If it is for public screening. It must have permission from the ministry.” He said that any foreign film must be imported by a Cambodian company holding the rights to bring in films from abroad.
And a previous article reported that an official said the government has the right to prevent screenings "wherever they are held" and confiscate the contraband information:

Tith Sothea, spokesman for the Press and Quick Reaction Unit at the Council of Ministers, said that the government had the right to block screenings of the film wherever they are held if organisers have not sought government permission. “Any media that is produced or imported illegally, the authorities have the right to confiscate it every time." 

Ou Virak, president of the Cambodian Center for Human Rights, points out that other organizations regularly screen films in public without asking the Ministry of Culture for permission.

This could include the frequent screenings of foreign movies at the Foreign Correspondents Club and the Centre Culturel Français -- along with the countless thousands of bootleg DVDs that are openly on sale in Phnom Penh's public markets.

The answer to the question posed in the headline seems to be "anybody and everybody in the government, according to rules that they make up as they go along."

read the article

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