Last month, the Post wrote a story about bribes or gifts to
journalists by organizers at a meeting or press conference. Now it has come to
Last week, I witnessed organizers of another press
conference in a hired meeting room at the Cambodia Communication Institute
distribute money to journalists again. I appreciated their generosity towards
our media colleagues. But what was the real motive?
I would like to
express my concern as a journalist, and not on behalf of the institute, over the
so-called "gifts" to reporters who attended the conference. First, I think the
$5 tips to journalists could only make them go from bad to worse.
recognize the good work of many journalists who have tried to do their job
professionally. But some journalists have very little knowledge of professional
Often we see abusive language, biased reports, and distorted
facts in some publications, along with defamation and intrusion into private
These journalists may be among those vulnerable to manipulation by
crooked businessmen and politicians who use money to buy their
What was sad about the conference at CCI was that the
co-organizers were from a local NGO and a UN agency. I wonder how they wrote it
in their budget report. Was it "gifts" to journalists?
It was even sadder
that these "gifts" were distributed at a journalism school where journalists are
taught to be ethical and not to accept "gifts".
I appreciate the actions
of the two women reporters from the Khmer Women's Voice Magazine and other
journalists who decided to walk away when they were called out to get the
I would like to remind the organizers that even though their story
got a space in a newspaper one would still buy it or read it based on news
judgment. A good journalist will write a good story without being paid by its
There are many ways to help journalists. One is to help them with
training to improve themselves. Or if an organization or ministry wants to
highlight their activities, they can arrange a writing contest with the
participation of a panel of professional judges.
I wish not to identify
or offend the organizers of the press conference. I can understand that what
they did might be from their sincere kindness to help journalists. But I do wish
they hadn't helped them in this way.
- Moeun Chhean Nariddh, Trainer, Cambodia Communication Institute