Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Official takes umbrage with reporting on HIV breakout



Official takes umbrage with reporting on HIV breakout

Official takes umbrage with reporting on HIV breakout

The secretary-general of the National AIDS Authority chastised journalists yesterday for what he characterised as their careless coverage of the HIV outbreak in Battambang province’s Roka commune.

Speaking at a roundtable discussion, secretary-general Teng Kunthy chided doctors who failed to keep HIV cases confidential and journalists who, in their rush for a story, had produced fear-mongering coverage that left those who tested positive feeling isolated and ashamed.

“The study showed that those who got infected have separated themselves from society; they like being alone and are afraid to stay close to others,” he said. “I think that the figures of people infected may no longer be important, and we should [now] help increase awareness to people, and give hope to those infected.”

Moeun Chhean Nariddh, director of the Cambodian Institute for Media Studies, said that while mistakes had been made in the coverage of the outbreak – revealing patients’ identities, for example – the media had been right in responding the way they did, because the gravity of the situation demanded a swift government action.

“I think media reported the Roka [case] that seriously because it was an emergency signal to the authorities, who should have done things before to prevent [it],” he said. “Reporters find the truth to give people true information and help them.”

Speaking at the same discussion, Heng Monychenda, director of the NGO Buddhism for Development, which is working on the outbreak in Roka, said that his most current figures placed the number of those infected at 261.

He did, however, allow that 26 of those people said they had contracted the virus before anyone became aware of the outbreak, though they still maintained they had contracted it thanks to Yem Chroeum, the unlicensed doctor charged over his alleged role in the outbreak.

Mean Chhivun, president of the National Center for Combating AIDS, Dermatology and STDs, said he couldn’t confirm Monychenda’s figures, and said that as of January 22, his organisation was aware of 226 confirmed cases.

MOST VIEWED

  • Purging Sihanoukville’s past with a new masterplan

    Amid illicit activities, haphazard development and abandoned projects, the coastal city of Sihanouk province needs a reset to move forward. A new masterplan might be the answer to shake off its seemingly mucky image to become the Shenzhen of the south Gun toting, shootouts, police

  • Chinese may be first in tourism revival: PM

    Cambodia's tourism industry is gearing up to roll out the red carpet for Chinese travellers after Prime Minister Hun Sen on September 17 indicated that the Kingdom could soon throw open its doors to international holidaymakers vaccinated against Covid-19 – starting with guests from China. Cambodia Chinese

  • Tourism concerns laid bare

    To ensure the success of plans to reopen the tourism market for international visitors, Cambodia must pay utmost attention to two primary determinants – the ongoing paradigm shift in domestic tourism services towards the ‘new normal’, and the factors influencing choices of destinations among foreign holidaymakers.

  • Covid jab drive for 6-11 age group to begin Sept 17

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has permitted Covid-19 vaccinations for over 1.8 million children aged 6-11 across the country from September 17 in order for them to return to school after a long hiatus. Hun Sen also hinted that vaccinations for the 3-6 age group will follow in

  • No ‘Crown Prince’ exists to buy France football club: ministry

    The Ministry of the Royal Palace has denied media reports that a Cambodian “Crown Prince” had purchased the AS Saint Etienne football club of France’s top-flight LIGUE 1 at the cost of €100 million ($117 million). In a press statement on September 19, the ministry stressed that Cambodia

  • Cambodian bride ‘badly treated, held captive’ by Chinese man seeks help

    A Cambodian woman who travelled to China to marry a Chinese man there was “badly treated” by her husband’s family and then had to be rescued and will be returned to Cambodia to ensure her safety. The rescue operation came about after the 25-year-old