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Not ready for prime time?

Not ready for prime time?

A group representing Cambodian television and film producers will write to Prime Minister Hun Sen asking for restrictions on foreign television programs and more support for local content.

Motion Picture Association of Cambodia president Chhay Bora said an agreement in December between the Ministry of Information and TV station representatives to reserve prime time for local content was not being enforced, with foreign shows still dominating the airwaves.

Bora said he will send a letter to Hun Sen asking for better state regulation and support for the local industry, which, he claimed, was threatened by foreign programs that eroded young people’s knowledge of Cambodian culture.

“I want to see Khmer content on television, I want to see Khmer drama, Khmer stories,” he said.

“It is not a question of making more money [for local producers].

It’s a question of surviving and growing the industry, developing our own culture and educating our own children.”

Low costs and high popularity see Khmer TV stations routinely opt to buy titles from countries like Thailand, China and Korea.

The film industry is also dominated by foreign movies.

In December, Hun Sen asked his Cabinet to develop plans to support local content and diminish the prominence of foreign programs.

Speaking yesterday, Cambodian Minister of Culture and Fine Arts Phoeung Sakona said discussions between stakeholders were ongoing over reserving the 7pm to 8pm slot for local shows.

Additional measures in the works include introducing a tax on the purchase of foreign programming, requiring advertisers to use Cambodian actors, tax breaks for the local industry and the creation of a Cambodian cultural foundation to support artists, Sakona said.

“The policy we know how to do, but sometimes we face the difficulties of the TV channels also,” she said.

Information Ministry spokesman Ouk Kim Seng said work on a solution was ongoing.

“In principle, we agree that during prime time we should have programs locally produced, not only movies but other entertainment programs, however it’s not fully implemented yet.”

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