Minister of Information Khieu Kanharith said at the second congress of the Union of Journalist Federations of Cambodia (UJFC) on Saturday that Cambodian journalists should work hard to increase their legal and Information Technology (IT) knowledge as well as analytical skills.
Journalists should be familiar about laws such as the Law on Access to Information, the Law on Marriage and Families, Land Law, and Inheritance Law. These laws are important to a journalist, the minister said.
“Cambodian journalists still have some other problems that they must work hard to overcome. Our journalists are lacking legal knowledge [on the laws],” he said.
Cambodian journalists, he said, were also lacking knowledge of IT, while some of them were able to use only computers and the internet.
“There are other technologies, not only the internet. The dissemination of information demands an understanding of the technologies and they must learn about them further,” Kanharith said.
Citing the words of Prime Minister Hun Sen at a meeting with journalists this year, the minister said Cambodia still lacked analytical journalists.
Nowadays, Cambodia only has a few analytical journalists, he said, while the weakness in professional skills is causing the Kingdom to lose ground to other countries.
“We are committed to helping the journalism profession to improve its image. For the sake of Cambodia’s honour, we must firstly respect journalists. When journalists are dignified, our news is dignified. Then Cambodia will also be dignified,” he said.
The minister suggested that Cambodia could not avoid journalists writing a messy article because they hadn’t sat for any professional examinations.
However, if our journalists had foundational knowledge based on education from journalist associations or clubs, then the productivity and efficiency of journalists would be of a higher level.
An unorganised journalist would hinder his self-development and affect his quality of work.
Huy Vannak who was elected the UJFC president on Saturday for a second term with a majority of 20 votes said he wanted journalist associations and clubs in Cambodia to show Cambodian freedom of press to the world on their own.
Vannak said at the second congress of the UJFC that editors-in-chief had taken the right stand to defend media independence because media dared to write the truth when reporting the news.
“I take this opportunity to call on presidents of other journalist clubs and associations to collaborate when issuing joint statements or self-assessments on the freedom of the press and the quality of the press in Cambodia.
“Don’t let foreigners assess it. Don’t let foreigners colonise our nation through the battlefield of public ideas. We recognise that some Cambodian journalists have a considerably high amount of knowledge.
“But when it comes to statistics, gaps are widening and this requires the development of journalists’ capacities to learn about governance, the economy, technologies, analyses and trends in the world and the region,” he said.