Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - PM: Media is gov’t development partner

PM: Media is gov’t development partner

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Prime Minister Hun Sen speaks during the 4th media correspondents’ gala on Wednesday. HUN SEN’S FACEBOOK PAGE

PM: Media is gov’t development partner

Prime Minister Hun Sen on Wednesday commended three ministers for being open to journalists.

Addressing some 6,000 attendees during the 4th media correspondents’ gala at the capital’s Koh Pich Convention and Exhibition Centre, he said Minister of National Defence Tea Banh, Minister of Interior Sar Kheng and Minister of Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol had acted as role models by directly answering reporters’ questions on the spot.

He urged officials at all levels to follow suit and consider journalists as development partners of the government.

“Journalists should take more active roles in addressing officials’ inaction because we need a society that is clean and transparent.

“We must acknowledge that social injustice contributes to social instability and can lead to armed conflicts. So I suggest journalists dare express themselves, but without fabricating the truth in their reportage.

“They must dare report officials’ inactions and other issues related to irregularities, corruption and injustice. All ministers must not be afraid of journalists and avoid considering them as enemies,” he said.

However, Hun Sen called on journalists to refrain from violating other people’s rights and disseminating false, one-sided information. He said the media serves as a reflection of various social issues and thus helps the government address them in a timely and transparent manner.

“I give [reporters] magic powers to extend their professionalism, gain trust from the pubic and defend themselves before the law.

“But to make the most of the magic power, don’t violate the right of others and don’t distort the truth.

Hun Sen said the media also plays a role in maintaining political stability and developing the economy. But fabricating news for personal gain, he said, will have adverse effects on society.

“When it comes to [bad effects] caused by the media, the level of destruction is even bigger than a bomb if the information they publish pollutes [society].

“A bomb might destroy or smash a house, but fabricated news can ravage the whole nation. When it comes to the economy, it can make our macroeconomic framework fall apart because of psychological war caused by fabricated news,” he said.

Club of Cambodian Journalists (CCJ) president Pen Bona lauded Hun Sen’s cordial gestures toward journalists and called on officials at all levels to heed his guidance.

“Not only spokespersons should be open to journalists. As Samdech [Hun Sen] suggested, officials including provincial governors and even ministers and heads of state institutions should come forward to address journalists when problems arise.

“What he [Hun Sen] has raised is what we’ve been hoping for. Now he has granted our requests,” he said.

Bona welcomed Hun Sen’s call for journalists to maintain professional ethics and refrain from violating other people’s rights.

“Avoiding rights violations and truth distortion are within the framework of our professionalism. We share his [Hun Sen’s] concerns as there are many journalists or self-proclaimed journalists who use their profession to violate the rights of others,” he said.

Regarding the freedom of access to information, the prime minister said the Ministry of Information had prepared a draft law and referred it to the Ministry of Justice. He said the latter was examining the draft law before it is forwarded to the Council of Ministers.

“The Law on Access to Information must be approved this year. Now the Ministry of Justice is working on it and it should not take too long to verify it with the council.

“It must be verified with the Criminal Code to ensure consistency between various laws and provisions on penalties,” he said.

MOST VIEWED

  • No word on state of emergency

    The National Assembly (NA) said it will postpone all unnecessary meetings in line with guidance from the Ministry of Health and the World Health Organisation (WHO) amid the Covid-19 pandemic. However, it did not say when or how it will debate the “state of emergency”

  • Many in limbo as tension heightens

    As the Kingdom restricts travel and prepares for a state of emergency, some foreigners in Cambodia are scrambling for a way home. Foreign embassies in Phnom Penh are making efforts to get their citizens out, but cancelled flights have become common due to the coronavirus

  • State of emergency draft law set for NA

    A draft law aiming to place the Kingdom in a state of emergency amid the Covid-19 pandemic is set for a debate at the National Assembly (NA) after going through the Council of Ministers’ Standing Committee meeting led by Prime Minister Hun Sen on Tuesday.

  • Khmer New Year postponed

    In an effort to halt Covid-19 infections in the Kingdom, Prime Minister Hun Sen has postponed the Khmer New Year celebrations – to be held from April 13 to 16. Instead, he promised to compensate with a five-day holiday at a more suitable time. He told all government

  • NA, Senate set for bill on ‘emergency’

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has requested the Senate to convene an extraordinary meeting to review the draft law that aims to put the Kingdom in a state of emergency after the bill reached the National Assembly (NA) on Friday. The draft law, which was approved

  • Hun Sen, ministers, officials donate salaries in virus fight

    Prime Minister Hun Sen and other senior government officials have decided to donate their salaries to the National Committee for Combating Covid-19 in support of the ongoing battle against the coronavirus. Hun Sen announced in an April 1 letter that because the Covid-19 situation in Cambodia