The Ministry of Information plans to set up a committee that will review and evaluate media ethics, and monitor professional abuse and the behaviour of journalists.

Ministry spokesman Meas Sophorn told The Post on July 26 that the purpose to the evaluation committee was to professional ethics among media outlets registered with the ministry.

“This committee will reach out to heads of the ministry to examine and evaluate the practice of journalism in Cambodia and provide feedback as well as orientation to journalist on how to conduct themselves in accordance with the professional code of ethics, as well as clear ethical standards.

“The committee will provide guidance to journalists who violate professional ethics and adjust their performance accordingly. The second is to protect the work of journalists and press units … from plagiarism or misuse.

Organisations have expressed concerns about freedom of the press, but Sophorn said those comments were only self-serving and not a reflection of reality.

“First of all, in relation to claims made by an individual or groups about freedom of the press, I believe that it only serves their interests as well as their own faction. It does not reflect the practical overview of the proper implementation of the journalism profession in Cambodia,” he said.

Nop Vy, executive director of the Cambodian Journalists Alliance Association (CamboJA), said the ministry should receive inputs from journalists before setting up the committee.

“We can organise a forum or an online seminar. We should invite journalists and ask them about what they think of the establishment of an ethics committee.

“For me, this ethics committee should look at its independence first. If it is the government’s ethics committee, then we cannot say it is independent and in the right position to give comments on ethics to journalists,” he said.

Ro Kimlong