Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Calls for journos to use care when describing drug users

Calls for journos to use care when describing drug users

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Media outlets have been called on to use care when describing drug users. Hong Menea

Calls for journos to use care when describing drug users

Media outlets have been called on to use care when describing drug users and to not disclose details that might reveal their identity or that of their family in order to avoid harming their chances of treatment.

The call came in a meeting with journalists to remind them of the Joint Declaration on the Media Code of Conduct For Reporting Related to Drug Use and Drug Users held in the Club of Cambodian Journalists (CCJ) in Phnom Penh on Thursday.

Chhay Sophal, journalism professor and deputy director of the CCJ, said drug users should be considered as victims and patients, with the media having a responsibility to help them.

“Drug users are victims and patients, so we will cause them further harm if we call them things like ‘drug-play gangster’, ‘drug addict boy or ‘drug-mad girl’. These terms will make them more despairing."

“As journalists, we should try to not use accusatory words but rather those that encourage them to seek treatment”.

The Media Code of Conduct on Drug Use has 15 articles, including guidelines on not using discriminatory words or those with a stigma attached in the reporting of drug use as the shame caused could disrupt a user’s treatment.

Information that could reveal a drug user’s identity or that of their family in either an article or in photographs, audio or video should also not be used.

Journalists also have the duty to not use language that will cause shame or embarrassment when reporting on drug use.

Choub Sok Chamreun, the executive director of HIV/Aids NGO Khana, said journalism is an important tool in inspiring drug users to get treatment, but if journalists didn’t implement the Media Code of Conduct they could further harm users and their families.

“The harm that can be done to their reputation by revealing details about their identity could make users too ashamed to come for treatment, and this will worsen their condition."

“But if journalists were supportive, then it would help them have the confidence to find help because now we have many treatment facilities,” Sok Chamreun said.

A Ministry of Health report said Cambodia has 16 provisional drug treatment centres and 430 district, provincial and city hospitals that can provide help.

MOST VIEWED

  • US imposes sanctions on Oknha Pheap and Kun Kim

    The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation expressed strong dismay on Monday over the designation of Cambodian tycoon Oknha Try Pheap and General Kun Kim under the US’ Global Magnitsky Act. “It is very disturbing when the public figures of a country become the

  • Rights Day forum denied in Sihanoukville

    The Preah Sihanouk provincial administration last Saturday denied the request of land communities for a public location in the province to celebrate International Human Rights Day 2019 as the administration had already held forums to discuss land issues. However, the land community representatives said they would

  • Gov’t approves $9B worth of building projects in 2019

    The government has approved more than $9 billion this year for capital investment in the construction sector, a nearly 80 per cent increase on last year, with most of the growth coming from projects in Sihanoukville, according to Minister of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction Chea

  • PP residents urged to use public transport

    Minister of Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol has urged Phnom Penh residents to use the capital’s existing public transport services rather than private vehicles, as it is leading to increased traffic congestion. He also called for the city’s public bus system to

  • Kingdom calls on Japan to increase number of direct flights to Siem Reap, Phnom Penh

    Cambodia is requesting Japan to increase the number of direct flights from Japanese cities and provinces to Phnom Penh and Siem Reap, so as to contribute to increasing cooperation and tourist numbers between the two countries. During the opening ceremony of 3rd Japan Travel Fair

  • Sierra Leone potential new market for export of Cambodian milled rice

    Sierra Leone plans to import milled rice from Cambodia for domestic consumption. The request was made when the visiting Sierra Leone Ambassador to China Ernest Ndomahina met Cambodian Minister of Commerce Pan Sorasak on Wednesday at the ministry. Ndomahina said his country’s agricultural sector