Hun Manet, a future prime ministerial candidate for the ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) hails the media’s vital role in strengthening democracy and societal development.

Manet, currently deputy commander-in-chief of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces (RCAF), made the remarks during a meeting and “solidarity dinner” with press and social media members on June 24.

The general emphasised the media’s pivotal function in the collation of ideas, perspectives and rational analysis that steer the nation’s decision-making processes.

“This sector is also a mirror to reflect society’s reality, providing the government with the foundation needed to improve societal shortcomings,” he said.

Manet explained that in nation-building, the media sector offers educational information to the public, thereby shaping governmental policies.

“The media’s role extends from strengthening democratic rule to disseminating swift, accurate information across all societal levels,” he said.

Manet further elaborated on the “invaluable” function of social media as a trustworthy watchdog, aiding societal enhancement through factual, comprehensive and transparent information dissemination. He warned, however, that misinformation is akin to societal poison.

“The government … remains committed to protecting freedom of expression and press freedom, in accordance with the Constitution and the Press Law,” he said.

He added that the government consistently strives to foster a conducive working environment for the media and audio-visual professionals in the country, ensuring equal respect for press freedom without any discrimination, threat or political influence.

Manet noted that the government’s current focus includes fostering positive collaboration and eradicating negative elements for the nation’s and the people’s collective benefit.

Nop Vy, executive director of the Cambodian Journalists Alliance (CamboJA), echoed Manet’s statement on the role of the media, saying the sector reflects societal issues, aiding the government in effective reformation and combating societal injustices. However, he pointed out that the media’s participation hinges on each institution’s capabilities.

“If we lack a competent and independent media, then Manet’s message will not be successful,” he said.

Manet reiterated that the media is an essential catalyst in content creation, information dissemination and reflecting societal realities.

“The media’s indispensable role, enhanced by technology, reaches all sections of life due to our peaceful, stable, secure nation that upholds freedoms for its people,” he said.