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Government to Train Journalists, Issue Newly-Prepared Code of Ethics

PHNOM PENH: With the government forming a national committee to coordinate information and public opinion earlier this month, the Minister of Information has announced that the government is preparing a singular code of ethics for journalists in addition to launching a training program in disseminating information quickly and accurately in digital spaces.

Minister of Information Neth Pheaktra spoke at the closing ceremony of a training course on management skills and leadership for 381 media players organized by the Cambodia Journalist Development Skill Association on September 17 at the Royal Academy of Cambodia. There, he claimed, "Everyone wants to make the media sector in Cambodia more vibrant so it can play an active role in contributing to national development by providing accurate and quality information quickly.”

He said that the Ministry of Information is preparing a universal code of ethics for the Cambodian press, noting that in the past, different publications functioned on different codes. Ethics violations were blamed for the closing of Voice of Democracy in February and for the blocking of Radio Free Asia and the Cambodia Daily leading up to the July elections.

Neth Pheaktra said that moving forward there will only be one code of ethics issued by the government to shield the rights of professional journalists. He emphasized the important role that journalists play by encouraging people’s participation in society through the fast and accurate dissemination of information.

He also announced the government’s plans to launch a training institute for journalists and public relations to train them how to be capable, knowledgeable and qualified to meet the needs of the job market within the context of digital society.

Neth Pheaktra linked the new training to Cambodia’s goals of being a middle-income country by 2030 high-income country by 2050. He stressed that Cambodia’s level of knowledgeable human resources has improved and that media need to strengthen the production of quality information to serve its readers.

"If journalists do not strengthen their capacity, all that quality will be lost. People have a lot of knowledge these days, so they will not spend their time reading meaningless articles or information that is not relevant,” he said.

President of the Cambodia Journalist Development Skill Association, Hor Kunthea, confirmed that the training will strengthen and increase the capacity of proper journalism to be more efficient and ethical.

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