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The state of the media in Cambodia

Firstly, I would like to thank chairman David Armstrong, CEO Chris Dawe, publisher Ross Dunkley, editors-in-chief Kay Kimsong and Alan Parkhouse, lifestyle editorial director Peter Olszewski, group business editor Stuart Alan Becker, lifestyle editor Diana Montaño and all the staff for a warm reception as the newest member of the Post. 

I’ve contemplated for months whether I wanted to work for the Post, and have made my decision to work for the number one newspaper in the country.

As a former host of the PUC Radio Talk Show, on 90.0FM, I’ve interviewed more than 180 influential and successful people in all industry sectors addressing issues that affect this country.

Once again, I have a platform to express my opinions, and this time it is in print, raising awareness about the social agenda in Cambodia.

Every country has its problems, but since I have been living here, the problems of Cambodia have been affecting me. In my weekly column, I want to address these issues and come up with resolutions that could be a key factor in the country’s progress.

Having lived here for almost two years (June 26 is my anniversary), I can’t see myself living anywhere else but Cambodia, the country where I was born.

I hope to share ideas and experience with the younger generation, our future.

The print media in Cambodia definitely needs improvement, and is unprofessional. I’m not saying all the media are bad (some, like AsiaLIFE Cambodia, The Southeast Asia Globe and The Advisor, are good).

I’m talking about Khmer-language newspapers and gossip magazines, and specifically their use of grotesque photos of dead bodies. It’s enough to make you lose your appetite just viewing the photos.

Now I know why other countries still view Cambodia as just Khmer Rouge and landmines. Rebuilding a country takes time, and our media sector is still learning and growing, says Glen Felgate, the former general manager of CTN.

Led by the US and European countries, the principle of a journalistic “code of ethics” is followed internationally.  Mandatory courses such as Media Ethics and Standards teach students about taste, decency and acceptability. Shocking, distasteful photos should have no place in newspapers.

Journalists should try working on the content of their articles, rather than focusing on gruesome photos that bring back horrific memories of the brutal Khmer Rouge regime.  

In addition, you don’t need to publish the prime minister’s picture all the time. As I have been told by an insider, the prime minister doesn’t like his photos being published.

Publishing his photos all the time in your newspapers and magazines looks like you’re kissing his “ass”. If you want to be on his good side, buy him a real Cartier watch, not the imitation kind you can buy at the market. He would prefer this.

So write the story with substance and with facts to back up your statements, as this is considered “professional journalism”, and try to eliminate bloody photos of dead bodies.

Substance in the content of an article is very important, and will earn you credibility and respect from your readers and peers, as well as from the international forum.

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