Prime Minister Hun Sen sent a letter to the Editor Forum of Cambodia, an assemblage organized by Club of Cambodian Journalists (CCJ) that began on Friday (Dec. 21), wherein he appealed on all journalists to adhere to their professional code of ethics and respect for the law by avoiding publishing or broadcasting fake news, and by keeping their media output unbiased.
“Cambodia is challenged with fake news made by oppositional politicians and opportunists who aim to overthrow the legitimate government through a colour revolution,” he said. He sees them trying to get Cambodia to relapse into a war because of their rancour or personal interests.
He wants journalists to refrain from reporting fake news or inciting news that may cause insecurity, armed conflict and chaos in the country. He urges them to report the truth because such reflections upon society will aid the fight against corruption, help reform the judiciary, and promote democracy.
The president of the CCJ, Pen Bona, observed that fake news is negatively affecting the media and society. He opined that people taking fake news at face value has caused a spreading measure of distrust in professional/established news media.
The Editor Forum participants have committed themselves to the fight against fake news. They recommend all social media users to stop producing, posting, sharing, commenting on, or hitting the “like” icon for fake news. Journalists, in particular, should not handle fake news in any way other than to discredit and debunk it, and/or warn the public about it.
The best way to fight this scourge is to limit its diffusion through disregard.