The Ministry of Information intends to initiate an anti-fake news campaign soon, aiming to heighten public awareness and encourage participation in countering the dissemination of false information. 

Ministry spokesperson Tep Asnarith announced this “Zero Fake News Campaign” on December 28. 

“[The] focus will be on changing people’s attitudes and raising awareness through publicity. The campaign aims to inform the public about the consequences of misinformation and implement measures to prevent the spread of false and misleading content,” he said.

Further details regarding the involvement of key stakeholders in the campaign are yet to be disclosed.

Asnarith said that technological advancements in modern media such as online platforms and social networks have significantly facilitated communication and information access.

He added that although social media offers convenience, the proliferation of false information poses significant risks, contributing to societal consequences. Disinformation can result in chaos, social unrest, a decline in societal trust and the wastage of people’s time. 

Additionally, he said defamation impacts individuals’ privacy and reputation, potentially leading to discrimination, societal hostility and disruptions to public order and national security.

“In the present and upcoming circumstances, combating misinformation is, and will continue to be, crucial to maintaining security, order and social stability,” he said.

To counter fake news, the spokesman said it is crucial to collaborate in increasing the dissemination of authentic information to eliminate falsehoods. Sharing only quality and beneficial information with the public ensures good order and social security, he suggested.

Asnarith said every citizen, particularly social media users, also plays a vital role in this fight. By sharing truthful information, they contribute to preventing the spread of misinformation, benefiting their families, communities and the nation as a whole.

“Before believing any information, they should question its source – is it clear and from a reliable source? Additionally, they should consider if sharing the information will benefit or cause consequences for their families or the nation. If there is doubt about the accuracy, one should refrain from sharing and adopt the habit of verifying information before sharing,” he said.

He said journalists also play an essential role in combating fake news by disseminating high-quality, well-sourced content. Increasing the dissemination of accurate information naturally diminishes the impact of fake news.

He called on journalists to enhance their professional skills, uphold journalistic ethics and foster relationships with reliable news sources, including spokespersons for ministries, institutions and relevant authorities.

Prime Minister Hun Manet, during the inauguration of the Choeung Ek Wastewater Treatment Plant in Phnom Penh on December 27, urged journalists to respect professional ethics, publish accurate information and promptly correct any mistakes in their broadcasts.

“I don’t ask journalists to stop criticizing; it’s your right. However, I urge you to maintain ethics, research real information and avoid spreading misleading content that exploits people for political gain. This is called abuse,” he said.

The prime minister’s remarks were in response to recent foreign media reports “misrepresenting” the Funan Techo Canal project budget.