The Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts has summoned the owner of Phalitakam Mohahang Co Ltd, also known as Mohahang Productions, to meet with ministry officials over allegations that the Miss Grand Cambodia pageant produced by the company featured inappropriate and obscene content that bordered on nudity in addition to depicting scenes of gambling with cards and dice.
The summons followed a series of public criticisms over the depiction of Bavet and Poipet towns in portions of the broadcast featuring gambling using cards and dice.
The programme caused a social media uproar during and after its broadcast, with users also objecting to the skin-revealing dress worn by the pageant contestants and the use of a provincial administration uniform from Stung Treng province.
Culture ministry secretary of state Long Bonna Sirivath told The Post on August 28 that after receiving many complaints, officials summoned the production company's owner for education and to sign a contract promising to stop activities that are contrary to Khmer traditions and morality.
The ministry also advised the organisers to follow the ministry’s inspection protocols for the contestants’ dresses before allowing them to perform on stage or before advertising using such imagery, particularly if they are associating provocative and obscene imagery with specific places and locations in the Kingdom.
"We have made it clear to them that everything that they do related to culture, which is under the jurisdiction of the ministry, they must seek the ministry’s permission first. The production filmed their pageant without the ministry’s approval, causing something as awkward as this to happen.
“We are taking administrative measures and calling them in for reprimand and to ensure that they remove those scenes from any rebroadcast or other means of distribution of the pageant video,” he said.
On August 26, Stung Treng provincial authorities issued a letter objecting to the use of the provincial representative's uniform in the programme without first seeking permission, as the uniform shown is not a traditional style of dress for the province.
"In order to restore the honour of Stung Treng province, Mohahang Productions must make a public apology to the people in the province and issue a correction immediately,” they said in a notice.
In Sophin, managing director of Mohahang Productions, could not be reached for comment on August 28.
Earlier on August 26, the company apologised and announced the removal of the offending dresses from the footage of the pageant.
It claimed that due to a lack of careful consideration and consultation with experts and relevant institutions, they had made a grave error which they now deeply regret and that the producers have removed these dresses from the show.
"In order to prevent this from happening again, we have decided to remove both dresses from the contest and promise to abide by the ethics, guidelines and guidance of the ministry," it said in a press release.
Although it had come under a great deal of criticism and had provoked public outrage continuously, the Miss Grand Cambodia pageant organised by Mohahang Productions continued on to its final round on August 27.