Minister of Information Neth Pheaktra urged journalists to enhance their capabilities, aligning with social progress and public knowledge while the government prioritises the strengthening of journalistic capacity and the elevation of professional ethics as the fourth pillar of national society.

Pheaktra made the call during the opening of a capacity-building training course for over 100 journalists, conducted by the Global Peace Journalists Coalition Association on October 22.

He said the ministry’s commitment to modernising institutions, facilities and the competence of officials and reporters is in harmony with societal shifts and developments.

He added that this commitment extends beyond his ministry, as there are plans to re-establish a journalism training centre, fostering the foundational strength of journalists in the production of high-quality news articles.

The minister underscored the essential elements for delivering high-quality news: grounding reporting in facts and credible sources, upholding ethical standards, and crafting concise yet impactful content. He also highlighted the need for journalists to continually enhance their skills in accordance with societal advancements and public knowledge.

Ministry spokesperson Tep Asnarith said the government envisions bolstering media capacity and elevating the media sector’s importance by prioritising journalistic ethics through training. This effort aims to cultivate a higher calibre of journalists within the media sector, establishing it as the fourth estate of society.

Puy Kea, president of the Club of Cambodian Journalists (CCJ), voiced his endorsement for enhancing the professional development and ethics of journalists through diverse training initiatives.

He also underscored his club’s commitment to delivering training to journalists.

He remarked that in contemporary times, the profession faces criticism from the public, particularly concerning online-based journalists on social media. Consequently, he urged the ministry to intensify its focus on delivering training, addressing the needs of a substantial number of online journalists who have not undergone formal training programmes.

“The landscape of journalism is evolving within the contemporary digital age. Numerous subjects, particularly those associated with technology and diverse forms of broadcasting, necessitate that journalists possess a comprehensive understanding, adapt to changing developments and actively engage with events, focusing on general knowledge and overall aptitude,” he said.

Nop Vy, executive director of the Cambodian Journalists Alliance Association (CamboJa), echoed his endorsement of the ministry’s objective to deliver training. He further advocated for an increased focus on training to cater to the requirements of younger journalists.

“Amid the era of digital expansion, we witness a surge in the number of journalists. However, there remains a deficit in adhering to ethical standards and building capacity, necessitating the need for additional training,” he said.

Huy Vannak, a secretary of state for the Ministry of Interior and president of the Union of Journalist Federations of Cambodia (UJFC), underscored the need for regular training aligned with the evolution of society, economy and technology. He encouraged the ministry to enhance the content and skills offered to journalists.

He also called on the ministry to place greater emphasis on the review of licensing, with consideration of standards to prevent any devaluation of newspapers. He stressed the importance of scrutinising the performance of media outlets nationwide to ensure their ongoing viability.