Cambodian Youth Are Voices for Change through “Next Generation” Show

With a majority of the country’s population under the age of 25, engaging youth in the political and civic development of Cambodia is critical.  One such successful effort is Next Generation (Nek Bantor Ven in Khmer) television show.  Now in its second season, the weekly one-hour program brings together contestants from youth organizations across Cambodia to engender friendly issue-oriented debates among and between youth on significant socio-economic and environmental challenges facing the country. 

Each week four panelists from political parties and civil society groups engage in a discussion on national policy issues and generate solutions for reform.  Throughout the 10 episodes, panelists  express their opinions on specific policy issues and participate in a unique competition that will encourage the television audience to vote, via SMS, for the panelist they felt presented the most convincing arguments.  Show topics include crime reduction, health and sanitation, natural resource conservation and youth in politics (see below for a listing of the issues featured in each episode).  

The participatory format of the show encourages Cambodians to tune in each week for news and information about important issues that impact their country and their daily lives.  In addition to the interactive television format, the Next Generation Facebook page was launched in 2012 and includes profiles of each panelist, video clips from the show and detailed episode information.  The page has attracted more than 1,200 Likes since its launch.  Through the shows YouTube channel visitors can watch complete episodes (episodes one and two from season two are currently available, others will be posted as the season progresses). 

Next Generation is produced by the International Republican Institute and airs Fridays at 11:00 a.m. on MyTV and is rebroadcast Saturdays at 8:30 p.m. on CNC.  The show can also be heard on Vayo FM (105.5 Mhz Phnom Penh) Sundays at 2:00 p.m.  All times are local Phnom Penh time.

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