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Fake news a serious issue

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A woman looks at videos posted to a social media website in Phnom Penh on Monday. Heng Chivoan

Fake news a serious issue

The Club of Cambodian Journalists (CCJ) on Monday said ‘fake news’ has been polluting publications and sparking controversy in the Kingdom, especially on social media.

The remarks were made on Monday at a roundtable discussion organised by CCJ in Phnom Penh.

“On behalf of journalists, we are obligated to safeguard professional journalism because the publication of fake news has impacted the media industry."

(It is) affecting the public who believe it because fake news is polluting, especially on social media platform,” said CCJ president Pen Bona.

Bona said the dissemination of fake news can influence voters’ decisions in the run-up to the July 29 national elections.

“Less than one week away, we will have national elections, so fake news might explode even further,” he said.

National Election Committee (NEC) spokesman Dim Sovannarom said the NEC will provide information to all legally registered media outlets.

“The NEC has an investigating team for news publication. If there are mistakes, we will ask the media to make corrections,” he said.

However, he said the NEC has yet to adopt measures against the dissemination of fake news, especially on social media.

Article 142 of the Law on Elections of Members of the National Assembly (Lemna), says any person who uses any means that cause confusion leading to turbulence, loss of confidence and trust in secret vote faces a fine of up to 20 million riel (around $5,000), Sovannarom said.

The Department of Information and Broadcasting’s director general Phos Sovann said the Ministry of Information will act on the NEC’s requests.

“If the [news] institutions are legally registered, the Ministry of Information will ask them to correct their mistakes,” he said.

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