Much of Cambodia’s media is sponsored by the country’s political parties, and though the prime minister has declared his support for press freedom, the media continues to be subject to the government’s whims. There’s a reasonable selection of English-language media, with two newspapers, a selection of magazines, plus satellite/cable TV and radio stations.
Newspapers and magazines
Cambodia has a surprisingly wide choice of Khmer-language publications, including around seven daily newspapers and a selection of monthly magazines, available in the capital and, in the main provincial towns. All the newspapers are pretty sensationalist, splashing graphic pictures of accidents and murders over their front pages. Rasmei Kampuchea, which at 18,000 copies per day has the largest circulation, and Koh Santepheap are both pro-government.
Cambodia’s English-language newspapers, the Cambodia Daily (published daily except Sunday) and the Phnom Penh Post (Mon–Fri) can be found at newsstands around Phnom Penh, Battambang, Siem Reap and Sihanoukville. The Cambodia Daily carries a selection of foreign and domestic news, while the Phnom Penh Post contains Cambodian news and features. It’s also worth looking out for the several English-language magazines. Asia Life (free from cafés and restaurants) is the Time Out of Phnom Penh with a host of articles related to new things happening in the city. Southeast Asia Globe ($4) is available in Western bars and restaurants; it takes a broader look at current affairs and economic events in the region, and includes items of consumer interest. Bayon Pearnik, a free satirical monthly, available in Western restaurants and bars in Phnom Penh, usually contains a travel feature on an unusual Cambodian destination and advertises bar and club launches. From time to time, new magazines come along; they are always worth checking out, although they often don’t last long, as demand is limited.
Among the many Khmer radio stations, just a couple carry English programmes. The principal local station favoured by foreigners is Love FM on 97.5 FM, featuring a mix of Western pop, news stories and phone-ins about the local entertainment scene. The BBC World Service is available 24 hours a day in the capital on 100 MHz FM; ABC Radio Australia also broadcasts 24 hours a day on 101.5 MHz FM in Phnom Penh, Siem Reap and Sihanoukville. On AM, Voice of Cambodia Radio International has programmes in English, French, Thai and Vietnamese.
English-language broadcasts can be heard throughout the country on short wave on the BBC World Service (visit whttp://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice for frequencies and schedules), and on Voice of America (whttp://www.voa.gov), Radio Canada Inter-national (whttp://www.rcinet.ca) and ABC Radio Australia (whttp://www.abc.net.au). You can of course also listen online by accessing the radio pages of the respective broadcaster.
Asiawaves (whttp://www.asiawaves.net) lists Cambodian radio and television channels, gives the broadcasting frequency by town, and even has an archive of radio recordings.
Cambodians are TV addicts and even in the remotest villages you’ll find people ensconced around someone’s (often battery-powered) TV. The country’s seven Khmer TV stations broadcast a mix of political coverage, game shows, concerts, cartoons, sport – kick-boxing is a huge favourite – and Thai soaps dubbed into Khmer. The state broadcaster TVK, on Channel 7, is owned by the ruling CPP, who also have influence with most of the other channels, apart from Channel 9, which is loyal to FUNCINPEC.
Guesthouses and hotels usually offer cable and increasingly satellite TV stations, enabling you to watch a vast selection of foreign channels, typically including BBC World, CNN, CNBC, HBO, National Geographic and Star Sport.