Advertisement should be monitored

In the past history, Cambodia experienced many political regimes in which democracy and freedom of expression were dangerously flouted and even completely repressed. At present since the Peace Accord signed in 1991, Cambodia has had a so-called “free” press for Asia with pluralistic media emerged. Today a growing number of print media hits the newsstands and the broadcast media fill the air and both media are competing in the market place. I acknowledged the government effort in improving the press rights and urged for further attempt for press freedom.

In stead of censoring on political related information, I suggest the government, especially the Ministry of Culture and Ministry of Information, to monitor on advertisement as mainly aired on TV. In that, I noticed a recent advertisement for Susuki Viva 2009 is problematic. This advertisement appears to target on sexy girls rather than on the Motor; its content is not consistent and affect the Khmer Culture and disvalue the woman. Accordingly to the Press Law Article 14 states, ?the press shall not publish anything which may effect the good customs of society, primarily?.drawings or photographs depicting human genitalia or naked pictures, unless published for educational purposes??. I supported the Prime Minister?s intervention earlier on a Beer advertisement, which depicted the sex encouragement. Therefore, I appeal for this measure to be continued and it should be a systematic mechanism of responsible ministries rather than individual [the prime minister] statement only.


To be honest: If Cambodia wants to be part of the global markets, its has to accept one of the oldest rules in advertising: sex sells. But not only that: The whole pop culture in Cambodia is just a copy of what we now from Thailand. Where is the real culture? Look how especially girls are dressed up. Why are a lot of karaoke bars, casinos, night bars, named it. The reality is far from what you decribed not consistent.
I think Cambodia is facing much bigegr problems than sexy girls in the advertising. Censorsip is ALWAYS the wrong way.
There is a growing demand on a Cambodian way, especially in economy. I am pretty sure this country is not prepared to go its own way. So all the efforts has to go into building a substantial econmy instead of blaming ads for being sexy. Acutually, even if its offending, why Cambodia accepts bars and brothels?

Well, I appreciated your comment and I strongly agree that we have to accept culture integration once we step into global market. Yet, what i concerned is that the government, especially Ministry of Culture, should play keen role to protect its culture. Plus, the advertisement through media is very effective, thus, it quickly educate people. But it should educate the right way, not to accelerate the culture change.
Moreover, the advertisment that i mentioned is absolutely inconsistent to the content of Motor promotion, but to promote the girl beauty. There is no link to Motor at all.

Actually I disagree with the idea, that the government has to protect the culture. Culture is something done and loved by the people, so they are able to save their culture (yes, there are exceptions like Angkor Wat and classic dance aso). Advertising is for selling products, not for education. Thats the governments job.
There is a basic misunderstanding of government in Cambodia: Its not to control people, it should be to serve the people.
So, if the sexy girl is inconsistent to the motor, its a matter of like it or not. If there is really no connection, people won’t buy the motobike.
But please, this country suffers from to much control and less freedom, don’t put the government in every thing in the daily life. Thats how they do in Birma right now.

advertisement is very complex thing which mostly the copy and imitation of foreign culture. if possible, to some extent we have to follow and the other extent we have to monitor and prohibit. but the government role is not limit freedom of advertisement. its role is to serve the people with balance for domestic and acceptable foreign culture.

I have not checked this website for awhile. Ooooh, I agree with the original text from Ms Sopheap.

I do not agree with the ideas of (1) Actually I disagree with the idea, that the government has to protect the culture and (2) Advertising is for selling products, not for education (May 11, 2008 11:42).

I find it difficult to accept, Thoma wanhoff. You said that the culture is loved, done and saved by the people. I do agree with this notion but if you ask me who are people/citizens I would say me, my friends, and other people and who is the servant of the citizens I would say the govenment. Therefore, the government does the job for, by and of the people.

And in this sense, I am in favor to say that it is the government’s job to safeguard the culture.

Now turning to education and advertisement, the roles they play are very similar. You can not on one hand say bird flue will make people sick and eventually die and on the other hand you advertise for eating bird/chicken without proper cleaned, cooked and arranged.

I am sure you understand my idea about education and adverstiment. And the same also applies, let say the ad needs to use the helmet but this suzuki ad does not show the usage of helmet. It would be a disaster in educating the innocent.

And to me such adverisement should be considered to be socially and morally unresponsible.

Remember Cambodians are somehow poor and illiterate; thus, we need to have good and right medicines to cure all of these stuffs — not sth bad to confuse them.


Hi, I posted response in the Cloggers News Group. But I decide to write one more here.

I think government intervention in private business, free market should be kept minimized. They have no power in this. It is the consumer job to decide which product is good which is bad. Which company is responsible and which is bad.

The role of government as Thomas said is to serve. In many cases that they have too much involvement, they addicted to power. We don’t want that.


Thanks for giving input on this issue…Actually i do support free market and freedom of expression…Yet, it does not mean that the government has no role for social development and national interests including national identity and justified culture conservation. I do agree that consumers or citizens are the one who make decision on media channels or product choices; however, i concern if young kids or teens can make the right decision to what they should act or be influenced.

Sopheap and Thomas, your arguments are very solid!!It is not easy to refute one of yours!

Sopheap: my question to you is how broadly you inteprete the word “Affecting good traditions and society”. Does that means you draw a line between what is sexy/improper/indecent and what is not by Cambodian standard? Should we leave it to the government to decide? Well, that can be tricky because to give them total and broad discretion to decide what is or isn’t proper and affecting good tradition would potentially create a situation of “anything is affecting good tradition”.

Thomas, I disagree with you on that we should leave our hand off the advertisement. It is undeniable that there are brothels (they exist because the governments have ignored and failed to address), but does that mean anything that encourages the industry should go undetected? We should not go on way of freedom of expression; however, while our interest of our children potentially being trafficked because of the growth of sex industry and anything that promotes it is at stake, we should balance it with strict scrutiny. It is worth looking at how movies and violence do harm to children.

My point is that state should not have a total control over this advertisement. However, there should be clear guidelines of which we can use to define what is “Affecting good traditions” without overly trumping our right to say “My product is great and better than others”.

Dear Lecturer Samnang,
Thxs for your comment. Honestly your questions are key elements for this debate. Also, it have been raised by many civil society organizations in advocating for rights respect. I agreed that our law can be misinterpreted according to people’s wish; especially by rights violators. That’s the loophole and the law should be clearly illustrated.

Also, i think Cambodians have its idetity and culture, we all know. It is not the government who decide it is right or wrong, but civil society in general. A culture can be defined as a set of belief and attitude where by accepted by a group or certain groups in a society. Thereby, i think the sexy advertisment is not yet appropriate for the Khmer Culture at this moment.

Hi Spoheap;
I am new to your blog but find this particular article is very interesting.

Advertisement is all about targeting and selling product to consumers whether or not the actual product and the model used in the advertisemnt are having anything to do with the product itself but rather to attract attention of the consumers and let them imagine if one is to own and have the product.

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