The Union of Journalist Federations of Cambodia (UJFC) initiated the creation of the Cambodian Committee for Media Assessment (CCMA) on October 29, as a new mechanism to report on press freedom in Cambodia.
“The Cambodian Committee for Media Assessment resulted from the second congress of the UJFC on October 12. The creation of this committee is to have a new mechanism to write assessment reports on the situation and freedom space of the press in Cambodia,” it said in a press release.
This is the first time in history that a mechanism has been set up for the press to assess itself and acknowledge the need to improve. It requires relevant parties to improve the quality of the press together.
“This will give more space to press freedom in Cambodia, give the press a more significant role in the process of democracy and contribute to the sustainable development of the nation,” the UJFC said.
It said a journalist or citizen should not continue to read reports of foreign agencies that assess Cambodia’s press value from the outside.
“We must base it on facts, reflect on ourselves first to be a basis for comparison with foreign reports to find out the integrity of each report and improve it.
“We recognise that when the press plays its role professionally, it helps the country to have good governance and expand the space of democracy space,” it said.
Information Minister Khieu Kanharith who presided over the second congress of UJFC said he supported the initiative to create the committee.
“Some of the foreigners who write a report on press freedom are not journalists or reporters. [If we] want the role of the press to contribute to promoting the nation’s integrity, it must first start from promoting the honour of journalists.”
UJFC president Huy Vannak said the CCMA will work with press unions and organisations as well as press institutions, editors-in-chief, press instructors, senior lecturers and legal entities to review the actual aspects of the press in Cambodia.
“We have a 13-point plan to assess the aspects, quality, and violation of rights to fulfil the roles of the press so we can work together to improve and have a measurement to measure our press freedom,” Vannak said.
Cambodian Centre for Independent Media director Nop Vy could not confirm yet whether he would join the committee because they need to first check its value.
“Everything that benefits Cambodian journalists benefits the promotion of journalism and helps protect press freedom. So if it has a similar value, we will join. But we have to wait and see what value the committee has got,” he said.