Minister wants Pchum Ben song banned

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
A screenshot photo of the Pchum Ben song from YouTube.

The Labour Ministry wants to ban a popular song about the religious Pchum Ben festival by singer and songwriter Mao Hachi.

In a letter sent to Information Minister Khieu Kanharith and Culture Minister Pheung Sakana on Wednesday, Labour Minister Ith Sam Heng said the song paints a grim picture of the government policy on Cambodian garment workers.

Citing a verse in the song, he asked the ministries to ban it from radio and television to avoid public confusion over the government policy.

“[Workers] have not been paid, cannot visit families in [their] hometown, so [workers] can only telephone them and shed tears,” read the verse.

He said in contrast to the song’s substance, the government has striven to provide protection and benefits for garment workers throughout the Kingdom.

The Post is not aware of any response from either ministry as of press time.

Meas Sok Ratanak, a general manager at Town Production where the song was produced, said it had been broadcasted on radio, television and social media prior to the Labour Ministry’s proposal.

He said the song had been circulating since August last year.

“I don’t know why the minister has based the proposal on one verse of this song and why he wants to ban it only now. The song has been around since last year. Anyway, we’ll meet with the ministry to discuss it on Friday,” he said.