The Royal Government Spokesperson Unit yesterday announced it will hold weekly briefings with the media in a bid to make the unit more proactive in addressing public concerns.
Phay Siphan, minister attached to the Prime Minister and a government spokesman, said the unit had established a consultative team to strengthen capacity to respond to reporters’ queries.
“We want to have proactive spokesmen to provide accurate information to reporters and have created the consultative team in order to strengthen the capacity of spokespersons and ensure that information from each ministry is passed on for journalists to inform the public,” he said after a meeting of spokespersons from all 30 ministries and institutions at the Council of Ministers office.
Mr Siphan said that the Royal Government Spokesperson Unit will hold press conferences once a week on issues which concern the public.
“We want to have press conferences once a week and we welcome all questions from reporters,” he said, adding that the unit also plans to hold monthly meeting involving spokespersons from all ministries.
“Previously, reporters have complained of difficulties in meeting spokespersons and sometime they don’t pick up the phone,” Mr Siphan said. “So we are now addressing that problem and our spokesmen will join the press conferences so that there are no obstacles to the flow of information from the government to the public.”
He said that if reporters have problems contacting government spokespersons, they can write in their questions to the Royal Government Spokesperson Unit which will forward them to the relevant ministries.
Mr Siphan appealed to all ministers and heads of institutions to provide as much information as possible to their spokesmen so that they can address public concerns through the media.
Chin Malin, spokesman for the Justice Ministry and Cambodia Human Rights Committee, yesterday said he supported the holding of regular press conferences.
“I am happy to see that the government has the consultative team so that we can hold press conference related to specific issues,” he said.
Mr Malin noted that in Germany spokesmen from each ministry meet the media every Friday to answer questions.
Ouk Kimseng, Information Ministry spokesman, yesterday said that he agrees with Mr Malin on having weekly press conferences but noted that topics should be focused on technical issues instead of politics.
“I have requested that we should focus on technical issues more than political issues because we are ministry spokesmen and should be apolitical,” he said.
Mr Kimseng said that Mr Siphan responded to his suggestion by saying he would create a team to respond to political issues so that the public is aware of progress being made by the royal government.
Moeun Chhean Nariddh, director of the Cambodia Institute for Media Studies, yesterday said he welcomes the move by the Royal Government Spokesperson Unit to strengthening the capacity of its spokesmen to be more proactive with media organisations
“Yes, we want to see spokesmen strengthen their capacity so that they are more prepared to share information with the public through reporters,” he said.