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April 03, 2000 01:15pm
Cambodian PM bans "sexy" short skirts from TV
Source: AFP

(OUDONG, Cambodia) -- Cambodia's female pop stars have been banned from wearing "sexy" short skirts during television appearences, Prime Minister Hun Sen announced Monday during a keynote speech on culture.

Threatening to sack offending broadcasters from Cambodia's six television stations, the premier complained the scantily-clad singers were reponsible for lurid displays and promoting material ideals contrary to national culture.

"These singers who like to wear sexy clothes look like they have not enough clothing," Hun Sen said in a speech marking national culture day, celebrated by government officials at the ancient royal palace of Oudong just north of Phnom Penh.

"Can you stop it! Those who wear short skirts should not be allowed to take the floor. Don't bring them onto TV, let them sing in nightclubs or restaurants. On TV they must be prohibited," he added.

Hun Sen complained most female pop stars "only sing about money" in lyrics pasted on top of tunes culled from foreign airwaves.

"If you don't stop this I will remove the boss and the staff of the offending TV programme," he warned.

"This is not Cambodian tradition, and we have our own rich traditions and culture."

The latest ban on an increasingly raunchy Cambodian media follows a move in February outlawing several saucy pop songs accused of promoting a culture of materialism and sexual promiscuity in a society already plagued by an HIV/AIDS epidemic and high levels of domestic violence.

A prominent women's activist welcomed the increased censorship.

"Some of the singers just wear bras and their skirts look like underwear. This is very bad," noted Nanda Pok, director of the Women for Prosperity group.

"As a woman I feel ashamed when I see this, and we have to do whatever is neccessary to protect our traditions."

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