More than 150 writers from across Cambodia convened yesterday in the capital for the first day of a writing conference coordinated by the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts.
The purpose of the conference is to encourage writers to produce original and positive work, instead of imitating foreign artists, whose subject matter can sometimes have an adverse effect on youth, Sarang Kamsan, a secretary of state within the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts, said yesterday.
“We want to stop writers from copying foreign artists and writing about things that lead to violence and that have a negative effect on society,” he said.
Him Chhem, Minister of Culture and Fine Arts, said the conference was part of the ministry’s efforts to raise Cambodia’s status as a cultural state within the region.
“We want all writers to improve their work so that our country can progress culturally, like other developed nations,” he said, adding that the country’s cultural and economic development were closely intertwined.
Hin Sophon, a writer from Kampong Thom who is participating in the workshop, said it was important for writers to be trained appropriately.
“Writers should be careful about what they write because it has an impact on audiences,” he said.
Raymond Leos, Dean of Faculty of Communications and Media Arts at Pannsastra University, said this recent move by the Ministry of Culture “reflects the ongoing struggle between recognising freedom of expression and realising the impact that some things have on society”.
“We want to preserve artistic freedom, but there has to be discussion about the impact of these things on minors,” he said.
WITH ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY KRISTIN LYNCH