Friday, December 25, 2009

Cambodia Plans to Enlarge State Television and Radio Broadcasting Nationwide

BY BUTH REAKSMEY KONGKEA
The Royal Government of Cambodia has planned to enlarge its state broadcasting of both TVK and National Radio of Kampuchea (NRK) 918KHz and FM 105.75 MHz to reach all people in all villages, communes, districts and provinces throughout the country. The aim is to educate and inform people about the important news relating to their health care, education, community developments, prevention of human trafficking, domestic violence and other government’s policies, said the government officials.

Thach Phen, Secretary of State in the Ministry of Information, said that to spread out the news reaching all people in Cambodia nationwide, the government plans to increase the number of the state television TVK’s branch offices and radio stations to be located in all cities and provinces across the Kingdom of Cambodia in the future.

“The media has played an important role to provide the information and education for our people everywhere in Cambodia and I hope that through this extension of the state television and radio broadcasting branches and stations, all Cambodian people will be informed about health education, prevention of human trafficking, domestic violence and other government’s policies,” he said during his opening remarks at the celebration of the second congress of the Press Council of Cambodia (PCC) in Phnom Penh on December 22.

The Secretary of State pointed out that according to report of the Ministry of Information, there are over 500 media organizations including print medias, newsletters, magazines, televisions, radio stations, cable televisions and media organizations in Cambodia. But among these there are only few printed medias which are available for sale in Cambodia’s newspapers publishing industries.

To strengthen the quality of the printed media and electronic media in Cambodia, the Ministry of Information in collaboration with the Press Council of Cambodia, Cambodian Journalist Club, and Cambodian Association for Preventing the Journalists, UNESCO, and other related media associations or international organizations will continue its hard works in preparing and organizing the trainings for journalists in the future, he said.

He added that his ministry will also enforce implementation of the Cambodian Press Law in order to ensure that journalists respect the “Code of Ethics for Cambodian Journalists” as a foundation for practicing journalism.

Teruo Jinnai, Head of Office and UNESCO Representative in Cambodia, said that UNESCO Communication and Technology Sector’s global agenda focuses, among other issues, on the promotion of freedom of expression and freedom of the press as basic human rights, through sensitization and monitoring activities.

UNESCO also fosters media independence and pluralism as prerequisites and major factors of democratization by providing advisory services on media legislation and sensitizing governments, parliamentarians, and other decision makers, said Jinnai, adding that UNESCO fosters freedom of information or rights to information, defined as the universal right to access information held by public bodies, and it also helps to strengthen the capacities of communication institutions, to improve the training of media professionals and to raise awareness among the public in making the best use of communication resources.

“Media functions as a vehicle for the flow of a plurality of viewpoints and multiplicity of voices, thus permitting exercises of citizenships such as participation, criticism and voting,” said Jinnai. “Informed citizens can better and more actively participate in their societies’ decision making processes.”

Jinnai stated that an independent and pluralistic media builds lifelong empowerment by keeping citizens informed and facilitating the flow of educational content. Educating through media is an important way to develop valuable skills. More fundamentally, the media encourages the acquisition of civic knowledge and facilitates discussion concerning current issues.

He said that it is important to work together with school teachers and media education practitioners in developing information and media literacy. Media literacy empowers the critical understanding of the media as well as the ability to decode, understand, communicate and create media products.

Media literacy activates people’s engagement and serves as a catalyst for open and well informed dialogue and local initiatives-community radios for instance-empower groups that are often marginalized and encourage the participation of the major of citizens in public life. New media and information and technologies play an unprecedented role today concerning issues of education and citizenship. ICTs have a huge potential to train and educate communities that have limited or no access to formal education. Community-based multimedia centers are one such example of how the media can serve as a hub for knowledge and learning.

“While the Internet offers an opportunity for empowerment as well as digital integration, the dissemination of information and knowledge will only be fruitful if the vast majority of people have access to these technologies,” he said. “The digital divide and the knowledge gap contributed to increased inequality and we must find ways to bridge these gaps to secure that social and human development leads to poverty eradication.”

Jinnai went on to say the at the core media’s role in empowerment and citizenship is the understanding that freedom of the press is not solely the freedom of journalists to report and comment; it is also deeply connected with public’s rights to freely access information and knowledge and to take a active part in political life.

On December 22, 2009, the Press Council of Cambodia celebrated the Second Congress of the PCC in order to choose its new leadership for third mandate. According to result of the voting, Mr. Sok Sovann, President of the Khmer Journalist Democracy, was elected as New Chairman of the Press Council of Cambodia, while Mr. Kong Arun, President of the Center of Cambodian Journalists, was elected as Vice Chairman of the Press Council of Cambodia, and Mr. Ek Visarakun was elected as the PCC’s Secretary-General. ////

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