In the last week of August, Radio Free Asia’s exclusive reports on ethnic unrest continuing to erupt in China’s northwest shaped international coverage on the tensions involving the minority Uyghurs. Since July 2009, when deadly riots erupted after a demonstration, Chinese authorities have kept much of the region under constant lock down, making it almost inaccessible for outside journalists to enter or report on the situation there.
The Broadcasting Board of Governors welcomed the decision by the Cambodian government this weekend to lift its ban on Khmer-language programming from overseas ahead of the July 28 national elections, but called for continued international vigilance regarding remaining restrictions on media in Cambodia both before the elections and beyond.
“We are pleased that the Cambodian government has decided to allow broadcasting by all groups on the upcoming elections, but restrictions on media freedom remain,” said Victor Ashe, a BBG board member and the vice chair of Radio Free Asia. “An important part of all democracies is to allow full media coverage of all candidates and campaigns with the people making the final decision on election day. Furthermore, the people of Cambodia deserve nothing short of complete freedom of the press at all times.”
Ashe, a former U.S. ambassador to Poland from 2004 to 2009, has visited Cambodia three times in as many years — most recently in May, when he met with leaders in media and civil society on behalf of the BBG and RFA.
The Cambodian government lifted the ban after an international outcry that included statements from the U.S. State Department, the BBG, RFA and Voice of America, both of which are supported by the BBG and have Khmer-language programs.