May 18, 2011

Cambodian government orders removal of "Judgement Day" adverts


Phnom Penh - Authorities in Phnom Penh have told a local advertising firm to take down billboards claiming that May 21 would see the beginning of the end of the world, national media reported Wednesday.

The adverts, posted by a US evangelical group called Family Radio, state: 'Judgement Day, May 21, 2011. The Bible Guarantees It.'

Family Radio predicted that all souls would be judged Saturday with worldwide chaos in store for five months until earth's destruction on October 21.

Pol Sopheap, the general manager of the Cambo Advertising Co, told the Cambodia Daily newspaper that city authorities had ordered his firm to remove the messages from five billboards.

The Information Ministry said the billboards must be removed 'to avoid confusion among the public and to ensure public order.'

Family Radio said its billboards have proven highly effective in transmitting its message.

'They are placed in many US, Canadian and foreign cities not only by Family Radio but other organizations and individuals as well,' Family Radio's website said, adding that there were more than '2,000 billboards, posters, and bus posters throughout the world with many going up weekly.'

Pol Sopheap said the contract for the adverts was scheduled to end Saturday.

Cambodia's 15 million people are predominantly Buddhist. In 2007, the government banned Christian groups from proselytizing after reports that people were being tricked into converting from Buddhism through material incentives.

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