Radio broadcasting institutions have been crucial in the fight against fake news on social media in Cambodia, said Prime Minister Hun Sen in a message to mark World Radio Day.
He said that this year’s World Radio Day theme, ‘Radio and Trust’, was particularly apt in a world embroiled in geopolitical conflicts which have escalated tensions and worsened the Covid-19 pandemic. The theme was also particularly relevant given the increase in the production, distribution and dissemination of fake news, he said.
The premier added that the dissemination of fake news and content that distorted the truth was causing chaos worldwide, and that radio stations and other forms of media had a duty to follow professional ethics and provide accurate and true information to the public.
He said the broadcast of content intended to incite the public was exacerbating the global political situation. If not managed, it would lead to loss of public trust in the media, he warned.
He urged journalists to share information, knowledge and experience “to increase the capacity of understanding the evolution of information technology” and to combat fake news that was responsible for “polluting the social environment and creating hostility that affects international relations and cooperation”.
Hun Sen suggested that radio stations and other media could be key in the fight against fake news, which had often been the cause of societal chaos that has played out in the Kingdom.
He praised journalists worldwide, including radio journalists “who have overcome all obstacles to fulfil their duties in difficult stages”.
He also thanked them for “providing information to and from the people to the government, so that people know and understand political and socio-economic situations factually, both in Cambodia and globally”.
With the advent and evolution of digital media technology over the last two decades, Hun Sen also urged radio stations and other media outlets to build their capacity to broadcast online and be accessible by smart device users. He highlighted the need to connect and adapt to the character of the new generation by providing options to meet their needs.
Observed on February 13, World Radio Day aims to increase the cooperation of broadcasting institutions around the world, and to increase visibility for the broadcasting medium. Established by UNESCO member states, it also hopes to promote freedom of expression and the press, and encourage institutions to work professionally and honestly in providing information, thereby increasing public trust.
Leah Sina, a reporter at Bayon Radio, said the radio format was still important in disseminating information to people – especially in remote areas where there has not been much progress in establishing digital forms of communication.
“World Radio Day is a reminder of the importance of radio – that it is still important in providing information. The radio is easy to listen to as people do not have to spend money to pay for internet unlike other social media systems,” she said.
But Sina says she believes that radio has been increasingly forgotten as a format of communication, and may require more support to continue existing in the Kingdom.
There were nearly 4,000 media institutions registered with the Ministry of Information in 2020, including nearly 220 radio institutions, according to figures published by the ministry.
Ministry of Information spokesman Meas Sophorn said that radio broadcasting remains a highly valuable medium and plays an important role in delivering news to those who have no recourse to other forms of media.
“Radio plays an important role for the public, especially in rural areas. It delivers information from the government to the people and vice versa,” he said, adding that most radio channels have modernised themselves to be digital.