At a March 24 meeting held to summarise the achievements of the Independent Press Association (IPA) in 2022 and set its work direction for 2023, Minister of Information Khieu Kanharith warned that fraudulent news may be spread ahead of the upcoming general election.

“This could have a negative effect on the success of the electoral process, so all media outlets must be certain that they are sharing only factual information with clear sources,” he said.

“Fake news is easily spread, and could be very detrimental to the forthcoming parliamentary elections,” he added.

He added that professional journalists should join the information ministry in the fight against fake news. In order to dispel misinformation, all media outlets should increase their dissemination of factual information from clear and accurate sources. All sources should be verified before news is published.

“There are two types of fake news: When something is published without time being taken to verify it, it is often a careless mistake. Intentionally fake reporting which affects social order is the other,” he warned.

“I express my admiration for the recent progress of Cambodian journalism, however,” he said.

The minister requested that the IPA and all 50 media associations in Cambodia train their journalists in how to distinguish fake news and the consequences of publishing it. He explained that they should write only factual information with clear sources, especially before and during the election.

“To neutralise the threat of fake news, they should identify clear sources from all relevant parties and make sure they verify all of the facts of a story,” he said.

“The dissemination of false or fake news can lead to people making poor decisions. If the false information is political in nature, it can incite unrest and divide the Kingdom. This kind of unrest is a threat to the fabric of society, and could even lead to war,” he concluded.