Minister of Information Khieu Kanharith announced that the ministry is preparing to amend some articles of press laws. The new conditions will mean that media outlets that carry publish misinformation or incorrect stories must issue corrections, or face having their licences revoked.
He explained the decision at an April 21 discussion forum on strengthening the ethical and professional code of journalists. He said the ministry had carefully adjusted several points of law to improve the dissemination of accurate information.
“We do this to help prevent the sharing of falsehoods or ‘fake news’. As the national election approaches, it is possible that people will try to spread misinformation,” he said.
Ministry spokesman Phos Sovann said on April 23 that the ministry needed to update current press laws, which had remained unchanged since 1995.
“The information minister advised the working group that was detailed with drafting the amendments to make sure they were very clear on the need for corrections to be published,” he added.
Nop Vy, executive director of the Cambodian Journalists Alliance (CamboJa), told The Post that current press laws include several points concerning the issues of corrections, but conceded that the minister may want additional detail to be added.
“Press laws stipulate that when media outlets carry incorrect or misleading stories, they must issue a correction,” he said.
Vy supported the amending of current laws.
“As they were drafted prior to the widespread onset of the internet and digital media, many of them are out of date or impractical,” he said.
“Before they are finalised, I do think it is important that all relevant stakeholders are asked for their input,” he added.