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Ministry has contest to combat fake news

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A man reads a newspaper near Wat Langka pagoda in Phnom Penh. Post Pix

Ministry has contest to combat fake news

The Ministry of Information announced its first-ever video competition in a bid to draw practical ideas from the public to help combat fake news.

“The contest aims to motivate the public to create a meaningful educational video to fight fake news.

Nobody will be discriminated against since we want to explore ideas from every angle,” Ministry of Information spokesman and Department of Information and Broadcasting director-general Phos Sovann told The Post.

Creators are encouraged to submit a five-minute educational video under the theme Making Fake News Negatively Affects Society.

The competition will be held until October 18.

A panel of retired ministry advisers and retired officials will judge submissions before announcing the winners by the end of this year.

The first prize winner will be awarded $1,000, while the runner up and third-place winners will receive $750 and $350, respectively, Sovann said.

He said the idea to host a competition was inspired after a meeting between the ministry and the Asia-Pacific Institute for Broadcasting Development last August in Angkor City, Siem Reap province.

The government has attempted to clarify a number of fake news stories which spread rapidly through social media in the past few months – from pictures circulating on social media which falsely depicted vandalised bas-reliefs of Apsara spirits at the Preah Vihear temple, to US-led propaganda that Cambodia had leased Ream Naval Base to the Chinese Navy.

During his annual correspondents’ dinner this year, Prime Minister Hun Sen told journalists that he too had been a victim of fake news claiming he had died.

The ministries of Interior and Justice and relevant officials are currently reviewing a draft law on cybercrime which will also address the issue of fake news online.

Nop Vy, the director of the Cambodian Centre for Independent Media, said the video competition will play an important role in preventing the dissemination of “toxic” fake news.

“The government should expand media education about fake news for people and the private sector should also contribute in these efforts so that Cambodians are able to identify between real and fake news,” Vy said.

Those interested in the competition must submit their resumes along with the video and an explanation directly to the Department of Information and Broadcasting or via email to [email protected].