(AA) – Let the psychological battle begin.
After decades of domination, Cambodia’s ruling party and its various allies are set to lose their monopoly over the airwaves as the opposition says it is to launch a fundraising campaign to get its own station up and running before year’s end.
On Monday, The Cambodia Daily quoted opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) leader Sam Rainsy as saying that “a private company that is friendly to the party” would be operating the station, but did not elaborate as to which had sought the tender.
He told the Daily that the public could bid for subscriptions, and that if the station needs “capital of about $3 million, we will issue 3,000 shares and each share will be valued at $1,000, and we will collect $3 million.”
He said officials are also weighing whether or not it will be beneficial to rent or build equipment needed to run the station, which has a working name of “Sun TV.”
Rainsy could not be reached Monday, along with CNRP spokesman Yem Ponharith and Hong Sok Hour, a senator from Rainsy’s former party who is a member of the committee that will set it up.
Moeun Chhean Nariddh, director of the Cambodia Institute for Media Studies, told The Anadolu Agency that the Cambodian People’s Party had effectively been waging “psychological warfare by using the airwaves, radio and TV to dominate the airspace” to win the widely disputed national elections in 2013.
“So I think to counterbalance the ruling party, the opposition party also needs to have this kind of strategy by using the airwaves as a battlefield to fight this psychological warfare. But in general, it will benefit everyone.”
He added that the country could benefit from an independent regulator or ombudsman in the future in order to make sure that all outlets, particularly those with political agendas, provide more balanced programing.
The CNRP was granted the analog license in November, a day after frowning upon being only offered a digital one.
Most households have not updated to digital, and so analog is still the best way to get countrywide penetration.