Cambodians urged to support local culture

Ben Sokhean / Khmer Times No Comments Share:
Hun Many holds a press conference yesterday. KT/Ben Sokhean

The Culture and Fine Arts Minister, along with CPP lawmaker Hun Many, yesterday called on Cambodians to get reacquainted with their traditions by spending time at performance theatres and avoid infringing upon the copyrights of others.

Some artists today sample songs composed during the golden age of Cambodian rock in the 1950s and 60s without crediting or giving royalties to the original musicians.

Mr Many, who is also head of the National Assembly’s education and cultural commission, yesterday held a meeting with the Culture and Fine Arts Minister Phoeung Sakona to discuss the development of local culture, including copyright laws.

In a press conference after the meeting, Mr Many and Ms Sakon concluded that there are positive and negative aspects when it comes to laws on copyrighted materials and culture.

“We had a positive discussion because we directly exchanged ideas,” Ms Sakona said. “We talked about loopholes and appreciated one another on what we have done.”

Ms Sakona said she also discussed last year’s registration of Lakhon Khol, a traditional mask dance, to Unesco’s List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding.

Mr Many said the public should pay attention to their own culture by watching traditional performances to ensure growth in popularity.

He noted that recently, an online debate erupted between Cambodians and Thais after the Thai government announced it would claim the traditional mask dance as its own.

“When we have trouble with our neighbouring country, everyone hurries to watch their performance, but after all that trouble ends, no one wants to watch it any more,” Mr Many said. “The way to conserve our great culture and traditions for the next generation is to participate.”

“Do not go to the film theatre, instead go to a theatre to watch the Lakhon Khol, Lakhon Bassac, or other traditional dances,” he added.

Mr Many noted that public participation is important when it comes to supporting local culture and that the government cannot be the only one supporting it.

“I would encourage our actors and actresses to continue their career. If they perform and do not have an audience, then popularity could decline,” he said. “We all need to participate.”

“The CPP is thinking about the future of the country, especially its people,” Mr Many added. “We don’t want to see any changes in our culture that could make us lose our identity because of foreign culture.”

Ms Sakona yesterday expressed support for Mr Many’s statement, adding that her ministry is drafting an amendment to laws governing heritage and copyright by 2020 in order to protect and maintain culture.

She noted that current copyright laws were drafted in 2003, and contain many loopholes.

“We have the law, but there are loopholes in its implementation because that law was adopted in 2003,” Ms Sakona said. “It is not relevant to the current situation. Many people infringe copyright laws using modern technology.”

She noted that the government will not censor artists. However, artists need to comply with ministry rules and regulations.

“We already informed them that we have the right to ban their songs from being broadcast,” Ms Sakona said. “One or two bad people should not make it difficult for others.”

WATCH: H.E Hun Many head of the National Assembly’s Education and Cultural Commission join press conference with H.E Phoeurng Sackona, Minister of Culture and Fine at National Assembly after Inquiry Session on Thursday (04 April, 2019). KT/ Ben Sokhean

Posted by Khmer Times on Thursday, 4 April 2019

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