The expansion of press freedom in the Kingdom, which has let the news industry grow rapidly, and led to democratic improvement and social development, is not without its dangers. This was opined at the meeting of the Ministry of Information (MIF) on the morning of Friday, Feb. 22.
The meeting, headed by Information Minister Kanharith Khieu, reviewed the ministry’s accomplishments in 2018, and took a look at what course the ministry will navigate in 2019.
Ouk Prathna, Secretary of State at the MIF, said that “… professional press freedom, within the legal framework of the media, has certainly contributed to promoting democracy, respect for human rights, building peace, and maintaining political stability and national development,” and has allowed the news sector to grow very fast. “We have achieved a lot in the way of dissemination and management of the media and audio-visual means. We got good results with the National Development Plan update by enhancing the scope, quality and effectiveness of coverage … [regionally and world-wide].”
He did, however, voice concern that freedom of the press, if its use is unbridled and in violation of the law, could lead to the dismantling of democracy, disrupting the peace, the interruption of national development, and even thrust Cambodia into a real war.
Information Minister Kanharith Khieu said that he expects national and sub-national officials of the ministry to analyse all aspects of the report and find new input, complement the strong-points, and improve on points of inactivity.
As of 2018, 633 newspapers and magazines, 138 publishing houses, 315 websites and online TV services, 40 press associations, 21 foreign news agencies, 220 FM radio stations, and many TV stations operate in Cambodia, just to list a few.