Young Cambodians are considered a crucially important resource and a rigorously strong pillar for the country’s development.
To keep our youth and general public up-to-date and active in society, the media, through television, has become a powerful tool to disseminate information.
In the last several years, we’ve noticed more incentives from television producers to screen programs relevant to youth and that gives them an opportunity for direct participation, such as ‘You’re the man! Show’, ‘Clever Youth’ and more.
Kong Sovandeth, 20, a first-year student at Royal University of Law and Economics said that, from what he observed, there are a number of TV programs which are related to young Cambodians and some of which have urged and encouraged youths to participate and share their knowledge.
“There are a lot of key strategies of study to be shared among students and youths who watch tv programs. For instance, there is a program called ‘YOU and ME’. We can learn something new in addition to what we have learned at school.”
But he criticised some entertainment programs.
“Youths sometimes spend their study time watching entertainment programs and ignore their study.”
Kong Sovandeth prefers to watch debating programs, or quiz-like programs aimed at educating and providing knowledge to youth.
For Lim Sreytoch, 20, an English major at Pannasastra University of Cambodia, those educational programs for youth are not as popular amongst young Cambodians as they should be.
“They spend all their free time hanging out with friends and they sometimes get up to mischief as well. Because of that, I hope TV stations will produce more programs related to youth in order to attract them so they focus more on their study and learn something from the programs,” she said.
Per a UNDP study in 2010, out of 2000 Cambodian youths across the provinces, 87 per cent watch international TV film series, 65 per cent of youths watch Khmer TV shows, while concert and comedy shows make up ?for 55 per cent and news attracts 43 per cent of youth.
On the other side of the spectrum, the percentage of youths watching educational programs is a stark two per cent. According to UNDP website, International Youth day – on August 12, 2011 – aims to produce a mass media campaign in Cambodia to empower young adults aged 15 to 24 to get involved in community-level volunteerism.
The campaign includes a TV drama and discussion show, radio call-in programs and so on.
In a speech given by UNDP’s Youth Advocacy Officer, Gregory Lavender, the campaign “will feature young people making a difference in their communities and will help other youngsters realize their own potential”.
Elena Tischenko, country directory of UNDP, said that young people all over the world – especially in countries with a young population like Cambodia – are vital to media initiatives because of the vast contributions that they can make to national development.
“Working with youth is among key priorities for UNDP in Cambodia in the years to come. This is simply because young people have huge potential, great energy and can make very valuable contributions to Cambodia’s future,” she said.
Sot Rin, program manager of Youth Council of Cambodia, said that producing programs related to teens and young adults is essential.
“Youths can improve their leadership skills and knowledge about the issues that happen around them, especially social issues,” he said.
“Youths are important human resources for developing our society, so by developing their leadership skills, they can convey their knowledge and ideas to other people in order to avoid committing something bad in society.”