Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Cambodia Prepares Code for Journalistic Ethics

BY BUTH REAKSMEY KONGKEA

About 200 Cambodian journalists, representing print and electronic media, radio and television from cities and provinces throughout the country, have attended the second conference on “Code of Ethics for Cambodian Journalists” to discuss the Draft of Code of Journalism Ethics.

The second conference was held in Phnom Penh on October 27, organized by the Cambodian Center for Independent Media, in cooperation with the Press Council of Cambodia, and Cambodian Press Working Group, funded by the European Commission and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in Cambodia.

Om Chandara, President of the Press Council of Cambodia, said the media sector has played important roles in observing democracy, freedom, multi-party system and development in Cambodia. He stated that Cambodian media has also morphed into many different forms and as result, many media institutions are created to serve different purposes. Some of them uphold independence in their missions and some of them do not.

The President continued to say that some Cambodian journalists have not received formal journalism training, which is one of the reasons why the Cambodian media sector cannot serve the needs of the society and its citizens, especially the need for journalistic ethics.

“Recognizing ethics as a foundation for practicing journalism, and seeing the lack of a code of ethics for journalism, media associations and non-governmental organizations agreed on a need for a common code of ethics in conformity with the ethics of journalism in many developed countries around the world,” he said. “We believe that having a common code of ethics for journalism is very crucial in improving the confidence among the general public, especially in serving them with sense of seriousness and honesty in Cambodia.”

To avoid violent acts against journalists, Chandara called on all Cambodian journalists to follow the Cambodian Press Laws and the Constitution at all times when performing duties in journalism and also to respect people’s privacy rights in the future.

According to a report by the Ministry of Information, there are currently over 370 media enterprises, including 39 newsletters, 150 magazines, 9 televisions, 40 radio stations, 90 cable televisions and 19 media organizations in Cambodia.

Seth Van Doorn, Political Advisor to the European Commission’s Delegation to Cambodia, said that the European Commission has funded Cambodia’s media organizations for launching the conference on “Code of Ethics for Cambodian Journalists in order to promote public debate on issues related to press responsibility, press freedom, as well as press professional standard and ethics.

Van Doorn said the initiative is also to strengthen the ethics of Cambodian journalists and promote journalistic professionalism and press freedom in Cambodia as well as promote responsible unity in Cambodian journalists. He added that in order to further promote press freedom in Cambodia, the European Commission’s Delegation in Cambodia will continue to support Cambodia’s media organizations in the future. /////

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