A senior Ministry of Information official urged journalists to take advantage of the information age by continuing to study and improve their skills. In depth, up-to-date knowledge is required to provide comprehensive information to the public, he said.
The remarks were made by ministry secretary of state Kem Gunavath during the opening ceremony of a March 29 journalism training course, held under the theme “One River, One Future”.
He said journalists and media outlets should take drastic measures to improve the quality of the information they share. They should produce attractive, relevant and factual content for the public good – as news organisations have an important role to play in eliminating fake news and disinformation. Society needs strong, reliable media that covers current events and future trends.
“Learning is endless. Lifelong learning is a compass that steers us towards knowledge. Only study will get us to a place where society needs and values us,” he said.
The “One River, One Future” training also encouraged the media to raise public awareness of the Mekong-Lancang Cooperation (MLC) and suggested ways journalists could share economic, political, social and cultural stories of the six MLC member nations.
“The value of the media becomes increasingly important when a country is facing insecurity, war – or a public health crisis like Covid-19. It is also their role to face off against fake news and disinformation,” he added.
The gathering of journalists from Cambodia and the other MLC member countries – Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam and China – at the training course was a good step towards strengthening professionalism amongst themselves. It would improve MLC cooperation and promote peace and prosperity, he said.
“Strengthening cooperation among journalists enhances the quality and richness of information, and improves efficiency by saving time,” said Gunavath.
Mam Dathalineth, an adviser to the ministry, said journalists must not pay attention to one-sided information, but need to obtain comprehensive information and study it carefully. They should also understand the various laws and regulations put in place by the government or signed agreements.
This would, she said, allow journalists to interpret things in a complete way. They should examine things from all angles and aspects, and report facts, both positive and negative.
“We are not judges; we are the ones who provide balanced information. The judgment is made by readers. If we only listen to one side of a story or we don’t obtain enough information, our reporting will be biased,” she said, adding that to achieve balance, journalists need to broaden their knowledge, including the study of foreign languages where necessary.
“We should be able to provide information in a foreign language – like English or Chinese – to spread the word about what our government does, so there is balance in reporting,” she said.
Phos Sovann, head of the ministry’s General Department of Information and Broadcasting, said this was the first course the ministry had run in 2022, although more were planned. There were 135 participants, nearly all ministry officials and young journalists.
He said the training brought journalists together to improve the profession – a priority sector that has made great contributions to the development of the nation and towards achieving the “One River, One Future” goals of the MLC countries.