Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - NEC dismisses CPJ’s ethics code criticism

NEC dismisses CPJ’s ethics code criticism

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
NEC officials talk to the press in September about voter registration for July 29’s national elections. Sreng Meng Srun

NEC dismisses CPJ’s ethics code criticism

The National Election Committee (NEC) on Monday rejected accusations from the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), a US-based NGO, that the media code of ethics journalists are expected to abide by during the election season would negatively impact the credibility of the July 29 polls.

Shawn Crispin, the CPJ’s senior Southeast Asia representative, said in a statement released on Sunday that Cambodia’s election-reporting restrictions would not reflect a free and fair process, and that it should be scrapped.

“Cambodia’s election reporting restrictions, if maintained, will ensure the polls have virtually no credibility as free and fair.

“Reporters should be allowed to report and opine freely on the elections without fear of reprisal. This ill-considered code of conduct should be scrapped,” he said.

Som Sorida, NEC deputy secretary-general, said this “condemnation” was intended to “mock, damage and attack” the NEC’s reputation but that the committee is devoted to perform its given role in accordance to the Kingdom’s laws and regulations.

The committee has no intention of doing away with the code of ethics, Sorida said.

“The claim that there are restrictions on reporters . . . the NEC cannot accept this interpretation. This code of ethics has been in place since 2017, that was the time to raise concerns about it,” he said.

On May 29, the NEC introduced guidelines for national and international journalists that included a prohibition from publishing news that leads to “confusion and loss of confidence” in the election, publishing news based on rumour or lack of evidence, and using provocative language that may cause disorder or violence.

It also included publishing news that affects national security and political and social stability, expressing personal opinions or prejudice in reported events, and conducting interviews at voter registration stations, polling stations and ballot-counting stations.

Sorida said before the adoption of the code of ethics last year for the commune elections, a draft was presented to all media groups for review and suggestions, adding that “even the CNRP” stood behind the code’s implementation.

“Therefore any accusation that claims the use of code of ethics has violated this or that, the NEC cannot accept it. We used it for the commune elections in 2017 and received national and international praise,” Sorida said.

MOST VIEWED

  • Cambodia-Thailand rail reconnected after 45 years

    A railway reconnecting Cambodia and Thailand was officially inaugurated on Monday following a 45-year hiatus, with the two kingdoms’ prime ministers in attendance at the ceremony. On the occasion, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen and Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha travelled together from Thailand’s

  • Thousands attend CNRP-organised pro-democracy vigil in South Korea

    Thousands of supporters of the Supreme Court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) on Saturday gathered in the South Korean city of Gwangju to hold a candlelight demonstration calling for the “liberation” of democracy in Cambodia. Yim Sinorn, a CNRP member in South Korea, said on

  • US Embassy: Chinese trade does not help like the West’s

    The US Embassy in Phnom Penh on Friday said relations between China and Cambodia did not create jobs or help industry when compared to the trade between the Kingdom and the US. “About 87 per cent of trade [with China] are Chinese imports, which do not

  • The Christian NGO empowering Cambodian families in Siem Reap

    With its basketball court, football pitch, tennis court and ninja warrior water sports area, you could be forgiven for thinking that the Siem Reap campus of International Christian Fellowship (ICF) Cambodia is a sports centre. But while these free, family-friendly activities are one of the