News / Asia

Independent Cambodian Radio Station Runs Without Jailed Owner

Independent Cambodian Radio Station Runs Without Jailed Owneri
|| 0:00:00
X
August 29, 2012 9:50 PM
Independent radio station owner Mam Sonando is in a Cambodian prison awaiting trial on charges of insurrection. He was Beehive Radio’s sole reporter, and its main on-air personality. But while he is gone from the airwaves, he has not been forgotten -- especially among the station’s loyal listeners. Rick Valenzuela reports from Phnom Penh.
PHNON PENH — Independent radio station owner Mam Sonando is in a Cambodian prison awaiting trial on charges of insurrection.  He was Beehive Radio’s sole reporter, and its main on-air personality.  But while he is gone from the airwaves, he has not been forgotten - especially among the station’s loyal listeners.

A few days a week, radio station owner Mam Sonando would go on air to talk to callers.  Now, the station and its listeners have to do without him, as he sits in prison across town.

The DJ who's taking calls says Beehive is carrying on.

“There is no effect to the station's operations.  It's a personal matter for the president.  All the staff comes to work normally. Many staffers respect the station rules; we're not afraid at all,” Phiev said.

Beehive is one of the few independent media outlets in Cambodia, where many stations are controlled by political parties.  Its broadcasts have won praise from rights activists for championing causes that other stations ignore.  It also carries Voice of America programming.
 
Callers used to have conversations with the owner about social issues and injustice.  Now, Mam Sonando has become the subject of the shows he once hosted.

“I ask the government to release Mam Sonando, offer him freedom.  We are his guarantors, we are 100,000 people and we will take his place in prison,” one caller said.

This is a somewhat familiar situation for Mam Sonando, who was imprisoned twice before for his reporting. This time he faces up to 30 years in prison for allegedly attempting to form a secession movement.
 
His supporters say he is being targeted for criticism of the Cambodian government and of rights abuses by the powerful.  Prime Minister Hun Sen dismisses the allegation.
 
Mam Sonando's wife, Din Phanara, has taken over leading the station.  She says his absence has been a big change.

“Because Mam Sonando is like the heart of the station,” she said.

She is dismissive of the court case against her husband - as well as even the idea that he could be planning a secession in rural Kratie in Cambodia’s northeast.
 
“How do we lead an insurrection just with two, three farmers earning a living feeding chickens and pigs?  How do we secede?  It is not true.  It is not possible,” she said.

The court has not yet set a date for trial.  And as Beehive goes on without its primary voice, the man behind it sits in pretrial detention, and his supporters worry about his health.

You May Like

Mali's Female Basketball Players Rebound After Islamist Occupation

Islamist extremists ruled northern Mali for most of 2012, imposing strict Sharia law, and now some 18 months later, the region is slowly getting back on its feet More

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

Many Chinese-made products go unsold, for now, with numerous Vietnamese consumers still angry over recent dispute More

Koreas Mark 61st Anniversary of War Armistice

Muted observances on both sides of heavily-armed Demilitarized Zone that separates two decades-long enemies More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Students in Business for Themselvesi
X
Mike O'Sullivan
July 26, 2014 11:04 AM
They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid