In an effort to determine the nature of American network television news coverage of the Khmer Rouge rule in Cambodia, a study examined the television evening news from April 16, 1975, the date on which the Lon Nol government first offered to capitulate to the Khmer Rouge, through January 8, 1979, when news of the fall of Phnom Penh to the Vietnamese was first reported. The "Television News Index and Abstracts" was used to identify all stories about Cambodia broadcast during the period of interest. Two hundred and forty-two stories about Cambodia were identified and analyzed. Findings showed that (1) overall coverage of Cambodia was at best extremely limited, especially in the three years following June 1975; (2) what coverage there was tended to focus largely on Cambodia's external affairs; (3) the tone of coverage, both in general and that devoted to human rights, changed from relatively balanced in the weeks immediately following the Khmer Rouge victory, to overwhelmingly negative (that is, unfavorable in its depiction of the Khmer Rouge government) for much of the remainder of the study period; (4) the coverage of human rights issues, both negative and positive, external and internal, totalled less than 70 minutes in a period of almost 45 months; (5) this very limited body of coverage was focused primarily on the two issues of unlawful executions and forced migrations; (6) other internal rights issues were largely or completely ignored and (7) almost one-fifth of this coverage, particularly in 1975, was positive in tone. (Fifteen tables of data and two notes are included, and 30 references are appended.) (MS)
Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Southern States Communication Association (Louisville, KY, April 6-8, 1989).
Cambodia; Khmer Republic; Khmer Rouge; Media Coverage; Television News