The first ever Annual Journalism Ethics Awards ceremony was held Wednesday in Phnom Penh, which conferred a total of 19 awards on five national newspapers and eight national television stations in recognition of their adherence to ethical journalism.
The newspapers garnering awards in categories including balance in reporting, gender fairness and impartial use of language were Rasmei Kampuchea, Koh Santepheap, Kampuchea Thmei, Nokor Wat and Moneakseka Khmer, and the TV stations honored were Bayon, Apsara, Hong Meas, SEA TV, TV Channel 5, TV Channel 3, TV Channel 9 and CTN.
The awards follow intense criticism of the TV networks’ coverage of the disputed July 28 national election, which heavily favored the ruling CPP in the run-up to the election and failed to cover post-election protests. …
The media organizations nominated for awards are part of a two-year project called Improving Journalism Ethics in Cambodia Through Monitoring and Media Watch TV Show, which aims to improve journalism ethics and help raise the standards of an industry long criticized for low wages, graft, and biased reporting. The project is run by the Cambodian Journalists Council for Ethics (CJCE) and local NGO Cambodia Health Education Media Service, with funds from the U.N. Democracy Fund. …
Information Minister Khieu Kanharith, who spoke during the ceremony at the Royal University of Phnom Penh, said it is the responsibility of the CJCE to improve media standards.
“Journalism [in Cambodia] is a free profession, not a job of civil servants. If we step in, it will mean the government is stirring in the business of journalism,” he said.
Mr. Kanharith also admitted that engaging in ethical journalism can be a dangerous job in Cambodia, particularly when it comes to investigating illegal logging and corruption.
Phorn Bopha and Simon Henderson
More than 300 families embroiled in a land dispute with notorious, and now defunct, NGO Darpo said yesterday that they had filed complaints to the Preah Vihear Provincial Court on Wednesday accusing a Koh Santepheap reporter of disinformation and calling for his arrest and $4,000 in compensation.
Village representatives Sath Savoeun, Srey Sophan and Kim Sophal of Kantuot commune in Choam Ksan district alleged that a series of purportedly false articles by Try Vantha misrepresented the trio’s involvement in the land dispute, amounting to disinformation and incitement, and that in the course of his reporting, Vantha accepted bribes from Darpo – which villagers have accused of rape, forced eviction and a host of other abuses while it was managing a social land concession. …
The 20-year jail sentence for independent radio station owner Mam Sonando made headlines around the world yesterday, but coverage of Mr. Sonando’s case was markedly different in local Khmer-language media yesterday, particularly national TV where not a mention was made.
While the three major Khmer-language newspapers- Rasmei Kampuchea, Koh Santepheap, and Kampuchea Thmey Daily-ran front page stories on the sentencing, only one, Rasmei Kampuchea, quoted sources critical of the sentences. …
While international news outlets ran stories that questioned the legitimacy of the verdict-”Another critic is silenced in Cambodia,” The New York Times; “Supporters cry foul as veteran Cambodian rights activist gets 20 years,” Reuters; “Donors urged to confront Cambodian abuses,” The Age-local television stations seemed to ignore the case altogether yesterday. …
By Kate Bartlett and Kaing Menghun, P. 20
A week and a half after a uniformed man opened fire on three female protesters at a special economic zone in Svay Rieng province, a photograph surfaced in a local newspaper on Friday showing the alleged gunman brandishing a pistol and surrounded by police and military police.
The image, which appeared in Koh Santepheap Daily Newspaper, is low resolution, but shows a man in a beige-colored shirt wielding a handgun overhead as he walks through a field at what is said to be the edge of the Manhattan Special Economic Zone (SEZ) in Bavet City.
Speaking on the condition of anonymity on Friday for fear of retibution, the photographer who took the image recounted the events surrounding the triple shooting. “The gunman first left his car and walked into the SEZ toward a crowd of protesters. I first heard the shots, several. I turned my eyes to the crowded workers. What I saw was a man, carrying a handgun, accompanied by police, guards and military soldiers. They quickly moved to the south of the SEZ, heading toward a rice paddy canal. The shooter and his accomplices crossed this canal,” the photographer said. …
Kuch Naren, P.1