Prime Minister Hun Manet reminds all media outlets and journalists to continue to combat any misinformation that may “pollute” society and cause division.

His comments were made in a December 20 letter marking the 20th Editors’ Forum, an annual event organised by the Club of Cambodian Journalists (CCJ) and observed this year under the theme “Ethical and Professional Code of Journalists”.

“This topic is of utmost importance, as some journalists fail to apply ethical and professional codes of conduct, especially those who work online. Therefore, it is necessary to strengthen and apply the ethical and professional codes and train journalists so they have the skills they need and gain public trust,” he said.

He thanked and complimented media outlets and journalists for supporting the policies of the previous and current governments alike. 

He described their support as a driving force which contributed to maintaining peace and developing the nation in a prosperous and sustainable manner, in line with the government’s vision of turning Cambodia into a high-income country by 2050.

“We pay close attention to promoting freedom of expression and freedom of the press. We also call on all media outlets to train their staff in modern media technology, while also strengthening their ethical and professional standards, so they can perform their duties professionally and responsibly,” he said.

He also offered several recommendations to resolve challenges of ethical and professional violations, including the spread of “fake news”, the distortion of the facts, insults and incitements which could cause hostilities and divide the nation.

“We must all continue to participate in preserving peace, developing the nation and strengthening democracy, based on the law and ethical and professional considerations. We need to eliminate all opportunists who masquerade as journalists,” he said.

He added that providing accurate information that reflects the facts about the Kingdom to both domestic and international audiences is crucial. Journalists must educate the public and share information about measures that will help to prevent traffic accidents, the use of drug and human trafficking, while promoting the “safe village-commune” policy.

“You should be united to combat the fake news that pollutes society, destabilises the nation and brings chaos and disorder to society. You must adhere to your ethics and maintain professionalism, while spreading balanced information. Most importantly, you should refrain from disseminating information that is detrimental to the national interest or breaks the public trust,” he continued. 

CCJ president Puy Kea said that the CCJ would continue its mission of training journalists to behave ethically and professionally. 

“We have the ambition of establishing a journalists’ ethics council. Until then, journalists must observe, assess and discipline themselves and their fellow journalists, rather than relying on the government or the police to do so. This is the norm that has been practised by the majority of nations around the world,” he explained.