Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Fake news remains a top priority for ministries amid virus rumours




Fake news remains a top priority for ministries amid virus rumours

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Information and broadcasting director-general Phos Sovann. Heng Chivoan

Fake news remains a top priority for ministries amid virus rumours

The ministries of Information; Interior; and Posts and Telecommunications are increasing efforts to work with Facebook to weed out fake news causing disorder in the Kingdom in the wake of misinformation regarding the deadly coronavirus outbreak.

Information and broadcasting director-general Phos Sovann said on Wednesday that the ministries are now collaborating with Facebook to manage and get rid of websites and Facebook users who spread fake news to cause social chaos.

“Our relevant ministries have collaborated with Facebook. The company tells us that if any websites or Facebook account users commit wrongdoing, it will allow us to report the case to it to delete the fake news.

“If websites or Facebook account users still spread the same fake news, we will request Facebook to delete the website or Facebook accounts,” he said.

He said the ministries have identified 50 pieces of fake news to analyse and those behind them will first be educated and then punished if they continue spreading misinformation.

Next week, the Ministry of Information will call on Facebook broadcasters who have no code of ethics or professionalism to attend classes, he noted.

Sovann said the dissemination of fake news regarding the challenges in dealing with the coronavirus outbreak led to heated arguments in Cambodian society. He said the dissemination of fake news had caused the division.

“We will instruct those posting fake news for the first time like lecturing a child. We will talk to them first, but if they turn a deaf ear to our instruction, we will use measures to mete out some punishment; the authorities will surely take legal action,” he said.

He also noted that most of the websites and Facebook users spreading fake news are based outside the country, making it difficult to take action against them. However, he said the Ministry of Information would collaborate with Facebook in such instances.

Concerning journalists who disseminate information unprofessionally on Facebook, Sovann said the Ministry of Information would educate and train them next week.

“We depend on professional journalists. If they come across those who disseminate information unethically and unprofessionally, please help provide such information to us. Sometimes, there is a group of spurious information disseminators, but our ministry didn’t get that information,” he said.

CamboJA, an association working to protect the rights of journalists, on Monday released a statement expressing deep concern over journalists using social media to disseminate information without adhering to professionalism or the code of ethics.

CamboJA requested the government and relevant authorities to instruct unprofessional journalists on how to do their jobs ethically rather than take legal action against them.

“In a democracy, journalists play an important role in monitoring lacking points in society to drive social progress, sustainability, equality and social justice,” the statement said.

CamboJA said shortcomings, lacklustre performance and failing to adhere to a code of ethics should not be considered a crime fit for legal punishment.

The association’s statement followed comments made about fake news measures by Prime Minister Hun Sen during a press conference last week.

“We must adopt better education measures rather than harsh legal action ... taking measures does not mean prisons and chains,” Hun Sen said.

CamboJA’s executive director May Titthara hailed Hun Sen’s remark. “They [unprofessional journalists] need education related to the profession and ethics rather than legal action against them,” he stressed.

MOST VIEWED

  • PM: West unfair to Cambodia

    Prime Minister Hun Sen released a message celebrating the International Day of Peace on Monday, saying that some major powers and western countries had been systemically cooperating to put political pressure on Cambodia as they did in the 1970s and 1980s. Hun Sen said pressuring

  • First ‘mobile kitchen’ in Cambodia enters service

    A catering company recently rolled out Cambodia’s first “mobile kitchen” – a $50,000 container capable of serving up to 200 people at a time. The kitchen is the brainchild of Seng Hok Heng Catering Services. At 4.4m-high, 6.8m-long and 2.4m-wide (expandable to 6.8m), the kitchen is equipped

  • Kingdom, China rebut basis for US sanctions

    The Council for the Development of Cambodia, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, and Tianjin Union Investment Development Group Co Ltd (Tianjin) have responded to US sanctions on Union Development Group Co Ltd (UDG), a Chinese-owned company currently developing the sprawling $3.8 billion Dara

  • ‘Bad news is an investor’s best friend’ – unlocking investment potential in Cambodia

    It is time to shop. Economic woes provide good pickings for investors if they know where to look The poem If, written by English Nobel laureate poet and novelist Rudyard Kipling for his son circa 1895, is widely perceived as fatherly advice for John who would

  • Influenza breaks out in eight provinces

    Nearly 600 people have been infected with influenza in eight provinces in the past month, Ministry of Health spokesperson Or Vandine said. The ministry is advising extreme caution. A report released by Vandine on Saturday said the Ministry of Health observed transmissions of influenza between August 15

  • PM requests Russia’s Covid vaccine

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has requested that Russia provide Cambodia with its Covid-19 vaccine after the former announced it planned on mass vaccinating its population next month. The request came on Thursday through the prime minister’s Facebook page as he met with Anatoly Borovik,