On the job training is the only way to acquire journalistic skills and knowledge of ethics in Cambodia
- From: Chim <ChimS1@xxxxxxx>
- Date: Tue, 23 Dec 2008 04:08:18 -0800 (PST)
Journalists heap scorn on their own ranks at meeting
Written by May Titthara
Tuesday, 23 December 2008
The first congress of the Press Council of Cambodia addresses abuses
of the press as delegates call for new code of ethics
CAMBODIAN journalists decried reporters who abused their positions to
extort others and called for a professional code of ethics on Monday
at the first congress of the Press Council of Cambodia.
"There have been a lot of journalists who were arrested because they
tried to extort loggers, businessmen and politicians. All the
journalists wanted was money," said Theang Phalla, director of the
Cambodian Journalist Council Organisation.
Rights organisation Licadho has reported that this type of extortion
can be quite lucrative, with bribes of up to US$1,000 for not
publishing a negative story.
"In 2008, there was a whole stable of cases where journalists were
brought to court," said Nouv Sovathero, a secretary of state at the
Ministry of Information.
But he appealed to audience members not to betray their morals.
"It is true that people need to earn a living, but this shouldn't make
them forget about their professional ethics. You must think that you
working as a representative of all journalists," he said.
Too many journalists in Cambodia do not think about their central role
in Cambodian society, and this can result in abuses, Than Vutha, with
the Cambodia National Journalist Association for Peace, told the
"As a professional journalist, you have an obligation to think about
the effects of your work before it's published," he said.
Many journalists at the event advocated for more training as a way to
raise awareness about the importance of ethics while also improving
"Because most journalists never have time to train or attend
workshops, they lack many journalistic skills and knowledge of ethics.
How can you expect them to work professionally? It is up to the editor-
in-chief to give them chances to learn," said Oum Chandara of the
Khmer Journalist Association.
Oum Chandara also pushed for a formal code of ethics.
"Journalists need to be responsible. They must write a story with a
code of ethics in mind," he said.
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