A total of 26 journalist associations and civil society organisations have jointly organised a one-week social media campaign to mark World Press Freedom Day 2022 under the theme “Journalism under Digital Siege” to reflect the importance of press freedom and to encourage public participation to protect it.

According to an April 26 press statement, the campaign will run from April 27 to May 3, during which a number of activities will be conducted by members of working groups, with participation from relevant stakeholders and the general public.

The main activities of the campaign will be posting short messages on social media on the importance of journalism for the public good, sharing videos about the importance of the roles of media and journalists and a roundtable discussion regarding the media and journalists – which will be broadcast live on radio and social media.

The roundtable discussion will be convened on May 2, and more than 200 will join. Participants include speakers from various ministries and institutions, as well as representatives of various international and domestic organisations that work in the field of messaging.

Nop Vy, executive director of the Cambodian Journalists Alliance Association (CamboJA), one of the 26 participating organisations, said the campaign was part of a series of awareness raising measures designed to help journalists and the media to improve their work.

He said the campaign activities will also touch on images of persecution, arrests of journalists, surveillance threats though photo or video and cases of journalists being

sued for criminal offences. All of these would make the government look into the possibility of responding and ensuring the security of journalists carrying out their work.

“We also want to see more focus on working together to ensure more effective use of social media and digital systems,” said Vy.

He added that at present, users of social media and the internet expect to find reliable information. Currently, however, social media makes it easy to share false information, so journalists and the government need to work together to ensure the quality of information people were accessing.

Social media in Cambodia should have increased transparency to stop the spread of false information and instead promote credible facts, he added.

Meas Sophorn, spokesman for the Ministry of Information, said on April 27 that Cambodia celebrates World Press Freedom Day every year in collaboration with other stakeholders in the field. This year, the ministry planned to celebrate Press Freedom Day on May 3.

“This occasion even attracts the attention of Prime Minister Hun Sen. Every year he sends a congratulatory message on World Press Freedom Day, and this year will be no different. The exercise of the right to freedom of the press, as well as the profession of journalism in Cambodia, is guaranteed and protected by the press law in accordance with the Constitution and other laws,” he said.

“Through the implementation of press freedom – as well as the profession of journalism in the Kingdom – we see the field of information sharing, especially through digital media, is growing from year to year,” he said.

He said that there are currently 830 digital media units in Cambodia, an increase by 47 compared to 2021.