Media urged to step up against fake news

Cheang Sokha / Khmer Times No Comments Share:
Prime Minister Hun Sen opens the Asia Media Summit yesterday in Siem Reap province. KT/Khem Sovannara

Prime Minister Hun Sen yesterday called on the media to step up the fight against fake news, warning against the evolution of technology which spawns cybercrimes.

Read More: Man jailed over fake video clip of “Chinese fighting with Samurai swords in Phnom Penh”

Speaking at the 16th Asia Media Summit in Siem Reap province, Mr Hun Sen said that technology evolution is threatening the security in the region and in the globe.

“Digital technology is aimed at enhancing the sharing of information between media organsations, including cooperation in the fight against fake news, he said. “Fake news and cybercrimes severely threaten individual rights as well as regional and global security.”

Mr Hun Sen also called for the strengthening of law enforcement and professional ethics to curb the dissemination of fake news, insults, hateful incitement and discrimination and conflicts between races and religions, all of which could harm social security.

“Therefore, all relevant entities must collectively increase close cooperation within bilateral, regional and global frameworks to fight against fake news and cybercrimes,” he added.

Sardar Umar Alam, head of Unesco in Cambodia, said that a study found that disinformation spreads six times faster than true stories on social media.

“In the past few months, we have seen the governments in the region blocking or slowing down connection on social media to prevent dissemination of false information in the aftermath of terrorist attacks or large-scale protests,” Mr Alam said. “The efficacy of such actions is not clear and there are concerns over the blocking of legitimate uses of the platform, including for journalists.”

Fayyas Sheheryar, president of the Asia-Pacific Institute for Broadcasting and Development, said that developing countries also face other challenges, including the level of digitization and identification of the right technological infrastructure.

“No doubt, the overall effects of digitisation will be country-specific, varying greatly among countries and sectors,” he said.

Information Minister Khieu Kanharith said the Asia Media Summit is one of the leading international broadcasting events that gives opportunities to ministers responsible for information, broadcasters and other media practitioners to gather and discuss how to develop media quality and cope with challenges during a time of technological revolution.

Huy Vannak, president of the Union of Journalists Federation in Cambodia, said that he acknowledges that digital revolution has supported the emergence of social media and citizen journalism and strongly altered the way traditional news media operates.

“As a fast developing country, Cambodia is not a developer of recent technologies. We are consumers of these technologies,” he said. “Yet we must not allow these technologies to negatively affect our lives or overly influence our own cultural identity.”

“We must use technology to speed up decision making and raise the overall living conditions of the people,” Mr Vannak added. “I recently joined with the government to draft a number of laws such as on anti-cybercrime, digital economy and digital governance to improve public services. Some Asian members have also adopted laws to fight against fake news.”

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