Preparing the media for election coverage

IMG_6757SEAPA and its Phnom Penh-based partner the Cambodian Center for Independent Media (CCIM) are organising a series of town hall meetings and trainings for journalists in  place from 11 to 15 July  in Phnom Penh and Mondulkiri provinces.

Renowned Cambodian activist and Ramon Magsaysay Award recipient Koul Panha, Asian Network for Free Elections Executive Director Ichal Supriadi, Royal University lecturer of Phnom Penh Chhay Sophal, and senior Cambodian journalist Chhean Nariddh Moeun will be among the resource speakers for these activities which aim to encourage discussions between the media and civil society on issues surrounding the forthcoming 28 July elections, and to remind the media about their roles and ethical obligations.

In the country where the ruling party CPP has in power for more than 30 years, the role of media during elections is critical. A survey released by the Committee for Free and Fair Elections in last March indicates that, although most people got most of their information from heads of villages (75%), many got still obtained information from the media, especially television (38%) and radio (34%).

However, media in Cambodia is still not free. The latest press freedom index released by Reporters Sans Frontieres (RSF) ranks this country at 143rd out of 179 countries. The government not only controls all TV stations but also most radio stations and printed media. The few independent media entities have to compete with the mainstream media, which operate under the bow of the ruling party. A recently the Ministry of Information order attempted to ban the local rebroadcast of programs from Western radio stations. The order was recalled after a huge public outcry.

Amid such a media environment prior to the election, enhance journalists’ capacity  to enhance profrasional skills meeting is necessary. The two collaborating institutions hope that participating  will be able to apply their training knowledge to ensure that they are able to report to the best of their abilities in the lead up and during the elections.

[This article is also available in Khmer at this link.]

For more information, please contact: Wisnu T Hanggoro, Program Manager of Southeast Asian Press Alliance (SEAPA), phone: +662 243 5579 , email: wisnu@seapa.org org and/or Mr. Pa Ngounteang, Executive Director of the Cambodian Center for Independent Media (CCIM), Phone: 0855 23 726845 Email: pnteang@vodhotnews.com