The Information Ministry will use a new form of media pass for journalists working in Cambodia by the end of January in order to easily manage and collect data from journalists.
Phos Sovann, director general of the Information Ministry’s general department of information and broadcasting, said yesterday the new media pass will have a QR code that records journalists’ data and can be easily monitored by law enforcement officials.
“The pass issued to journalists in the future will easily manage journalists. If there is a report that a pass holder behaves contrary to the profession, we will take action accordingly,” he said.
He added that the new media pass would be valid for one year, as opposed to the old one which was valid for only three months.
Mr Sovann said the ministry is considering finding partners in cafes or other locations that are willing to provide special services to pass holders.
According to Mr Sovann, the number of journalists in the country was much higher than the 2,500 or so that had registered with the broadcasting department.
Prak Chan Thul, a reporter for foreign news agencies in Cambodia, said he supported the ministry’s plan for new media passes for journalists.
“It is a good thing the Information Ministry can manage journalists to know which outlet the media pass holders come from, where those outlets are, and if those outlets are in the process of publication,” he said. “It is a process that is good for journalists.”
Huy Vannak, president of the Union of Journalist Federations of Cambodia, also supported the plan to identify official journalists working in the kingdom.
He said for professional journalists, it was about ethics and responsibility. Not just anyone could be a journalist because they had to report information correctly.
“This arrangement is to strengthen the value and role of professional journalists, and this is not only done to Cambodian journalists but to foreign journalists in Cambodia as well,” he said.
Last month, a scandal emerged involving local journalists from 179 media outlets who allegedly received bribes from cockfighting rings in Kandal and Takeo provinces to not report on their activity.
Also last month, the Information Ministry closed 330 inactive newspapers as they had not renewed their licences and some had not been published for years.
However, Information Minister Khieu Kanharith said that although a large number of newspapers were closed, there were still 388 active newspapers in addition to 207 magazines and 25 newsletters in Cambodia.