Prime Minister Hun Sen has called on local and international journalists to join hands in tackling fake news, which he said could cause social turmoil in the Kingdom and beyond.
He made the appeal in a letter sent to the Editor Forum of Cambodia, a gathering organised by the Club of Cambodian Journalists (CCJ) in the capital on Friday.
The prime minister said fake news could impact national security, political stability and relations with neighbouring countries, adding that it has been used by opposition politicians and opportunists to “pollute the social environment” in a bid to overthrow Cambodia’s government.
“Cambodia is facing serious problems associated with fake news. It has been used by opposition politicians and opportunists to pollute the social environment in an attempt to topple the legitimate government through a colour revolution, to drag the country into war and to serve their greedy ambitions with foreigners behind,” reads the letter.
Code of ethics
While pointing out that fake news has mostly spread through social media, Hun Sen urged the press not to publicise news not based on reliable sources.
He urged both local and foreign journalists in the Kingdom to adhere to their professional code of ethics and refrain from publishing fake or one-sided news.
“Journalists should not publicise fake news because of revenge or personal interests without thinking about the rule and regulations of the press. They must not publish fake news to inflate the situations and to cause an
internal rift that may drive the country into chaos, insecurity or armed conflict with neighbouring countries,” the letter said.
In a joint statement, the Editor Forum of Cambodia urged journalists to join hands in the fight against fake news, saying “professional journalists must refrain from publishing or sharing news without proper sources and thorough review to avoid inadvertently spreading fake news.”
CCJ president Pen Bona said fake news has become a serious issue in Cambodia and the rest of the world, with each country finding ways to tackle it.
He said fake news spread on social media has badly affected society and cast a shadow on news that complies with professional code of ethics.
“We have adopted 12 mechanisms and measures, which are very important. We as journalists must refrain from spreading fake news. If the news has no clear basis or sources, we must not ‘like, share or comment’ or use it as a source,” he added.