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Media and awareness of the law today


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Every society around the world has its own form of law. But why do we need law? Why is it important? In general, law is a set of rules that govern every-day interactions and regulate our conduct, in order to ensure social order. Law and order go hand-in-hand.

Mass media, including TV and radio, are very useful tools for promoting law related issues and encouraging civic engagement. Without the participation of young Cambodians, it will be hard for Cambodia to develop the legal system. The young are the future leaders of our society.

However, it seems the mass media are choosing not to broadcast these educational programs because it doesn’t gather enough viewers, which doesn’t net enough profit.

“Young people do not want to think more about law. They want to be happy, so they like to listen to programs related to that, such as information about stars,” said Chea Sundaneth, director of the Women’s Media Center of Cambodia Radio Station, FM 102 (WMC 102). She added that if she creates more programs about the law, she’ll lose listeners.

In contrast, some members of the younger generation – usually the highly educated, or those who have a background in legal education – are seeking more mass media programs about today’s legal system.

Pok Charkrey Morkord, a student at Royal University of Law and Economics, says that when she tunes in to TV or radio, it seems she only hears about music, beauty, love and movies. “I don’t think the media broadcasts enough when a new law comes out.”

CPP lawmaker Cheam Yeap says that reforming broadcasting law is the responsibility of the government. Those who are curious about legal developments, he said, can tune in to Radio National of Kampuche (RNK), which reports live coverage of developing laws. “We try to educate people about law through media step by step,” he said.    

Yem Sovann, spokesman of the Sam Rainsy Party, added that people living in rural provinces have limited access to radio and TV. Therefore, reaching their community and keeping them updated of government developments is an extra challenge.

It is difficult to tell whether the younger generation’s disinterest in legal issues, or the mass media’s drive to make profit, is the cause of such few broadcasts on the topic. However, there’s still an answer to the problem.

As law is not a topic of entertainment, it is important that this type of programming is made interesting and accessible to young people today. This will engage young listeners, and increase the listener audience.

The Road of Law program broadcast on WMC 102 is a great example. In this interesting broadcast, discussions are put forward and questions are raised, so that the younger generation can participate.

Some NGOs will support these types of broadcasts, so that the stations don’t have to rely on advertisers.

Today’s young generation has to be proactive in seeking information about the law, instead of excessively listening to entertainment programs. If young Cambodians are aware of the law, they will know how to protect the rights of both themselves and of others. They will involve themselves in improving and developing Cambodian society.

As stated in Article 38 of the Constitution of Cambodia: “The law prohibits all physical abuse of any individual, and no person shall be accused, arrested, or detained except in accordance with the law.”

It is crucial to know about the law, as a good citizen must abide by the law.

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