Gory pictures of traffic accident victims and those who have suffered from violent crimes were in bad taste and must no longer grace the pages of Cambodian newspapers, the Information Minister said in a letter yesterday.
Khieu Kanharith banned the use of such graphic images in a directive that praised newspapers that searched for good or unusual information but lamented those that irresponsibly exploited people’s misery.
“There are still some media [outlets] that do not pay attention and take responsibility with their publishing,” the letter said.
“They still print cruel pictures of traffic accidents, crime and domestic violence against women and children without covering the victims’ faces.”
Khieu Kanharith, a former newspaper editor-in-chief, said failing to conceal victims’ faces not only violated codes of ethics but also impinged on people’s rights.
“From now on, all the print media has to cover victims’ faces, [conceal] their identity and avoid using those kind of pictures when printing your papers,” he said.
Pen Samitthy, editor-in-chief of the Cambodian-language newspaper Rasmei Kampuchea, said he supported the directive.
“My newspaper has never printed very cruel pictures, and we always cover the victims or blood,” he said, adding that he did not know which publications the minister was referring to.