BY BUTH REAKSMEY KONGKEA
Pa Nguon Teang, Director of the Cambodia Centre for Independent Media (CCiM), said that Media and NGOs are the partners to work and promote the good government and social accountability in Cambodia.
The media and NGOs have a main role to work and to help the government in poverty reduction, promote good governance, social accountability and democracy, respect of human rights, generate sustainable economic development and accountability in the country.
He said that the media and NGO groups should be partnered and has a good network of information sharing so that the media group can do their reporting within accuracy, fairness and credibility for the people and the government.
“I think that good governance and social accountability, the media groups and NGOs should be partnered, cooperating and working closely with each other providing information and reporting. To achieve this goal, the media should play independent roles in reporting the accurate, fair and reliable information to the people,” he said during a meeting with about 100 participants between media and NGO groups on August 3rd in Phnom Penh.
He pointed out that to increase Cambodian journalists’ capacity, with financial support from the Philippine-based Affiliated Network on Social Accountability (ANSA), the Cambodia Centre for Independent Media is implementing a project entitled “Reporting of Social Accountability Issues: Empowering the Journalists and Citizens to Report Social Accountability Issues through the Broadcast Radio”.
The objective of the project is to empower the Cambodian journalists and citizens, particularly in the rural areas, to report in the media pressing issues on social accountability. This objective also aims to contribute in promoting responsible journalism and in raising the awareness of the public on its role in monitoring and reporting public accountabilities of public officials, including private corporations and NGOs.
Dr. Pung Chhiv Kek, Executive Director of the Cambodian League for the Promotion and Defence of Human Rights (LICADHO), said that to promote democracy, rule of laws and respect of human rights in Cambodia, the media and NGO groups should be partnered and closely cooperated in working and reporting the real information from people to the government and from the government to the people.
She stated that the media and NGO groups should be often meeting and sharing their information so that they can do their reporting within accurate, fair and dependent information which can contribute to the promotion of democracy, social development and accountability in Cambodia.
“I would like to suggest that in order to provide the accurate and reliable information for the people, the journalists must play their roles independently and respect of journalism and code of conduct,” he said.
San Chey, Network Fellow of the Affiliated Network for Social Accountability in East Asia and the Pacific (ANSA-EAP), said that there are four pillars of social accountability including: organized and capable citizens groups; an enabling environment, with government champions who are willing to engage; cultural appropriateness; and, access to information.
Both citizen groups and the government are important players of social accountability. Government has the duty to facilitate access to all information while citizens must assert their right to participate in governance. Citizens must organize themselves to be able to engage in this kind of participation, he said, adding that the social accountability approach presumes, first, that government keeps the door open for people’s participation and, second, that citizens are willing to engage the government. The dynamics of the relationship is constructive government-citizen engagement.
He emphasized that ANSA-EAP is a regional network established in 2008 to help cultivate the East Asia-Pacific way of doing social accountability by upholding the region's culture and norms. ANSA-EAP reaches out to various groups: citizen groups, nongovernment organizations, civic associations, the business sector, and government institutions. It harnesses and enhances the region's knowledge, expertise, and experience. Through ANSA-EAP, homegrown efforts can make people realize the direction and value of their participation in governance, further enriching the existing community of learning and practice.