The United States has condemned a Cambodian government order that bans local radio stations from broadcasting content from foreign media in the run-up to a general election in July.
U.S. State Department spokesman Patrick Ventrell said Friday that the Cambodian information ministry had published a directive banning broadcasts of foreign-produced radio programs for 31 days prior to the July 28 election. The directive also ordered stations to stop carrying reports on foreigners playing any role in the campaign.
Ventrell called the directive a serious infringement of press freedom that calls into question whether the vote will be free and fair.
The restrictions affect such organizations as Radio Free Asia and Voice of America.
VOA Executive Editor Steve Redisch released a statement Friday condemning any effort to silence the media.
Redisch said reliable, accurate and balanced news and information are critically needed ahead of elections.
VOA is considering adding additional frequencies to its shortwave broadcasts, which are not affected by the ban.