Minister of Information, Khieu Kanharith, yesterday held the first meeting with government lawyers to examine issues that journalists face in Cambodia, following an announcement in February of a commitment to assist journalists facing litigation.
In January, Prime Minister Hun Sen assigned government lawyer Ky Tech to create a team of volunteer attorneys to provide legal support for professional journalists facing lawsuits in court.
Mr Hun Sen assigned Tech this duty during a meeting with about 6,000 journalists in early January at Diamond Island Convention and Exhibition Center, Koh Pich.
Tech helped evaluate the work of 67 government lawyers in provinces across the Kingdom.
Information Ministry spokesman Meas Sophorn said yesterday that since February there have not been any lawsuits filed against journalists.
“Most complaints against journalists are referred to the ministry for advice, and so far none of these complaints have led to further action in court,” he said.
Sophorn also said that the meeting yesterday between the ministry and government lawyers will happen every six months, to give each other advice and share ideas.
“I suggest that journalists obey the law and maintain a code of ethics and professionalism during work to avoid any problems,” he added.
Mr Hun Sen has also said journalists should always maintain professionalism in their work.
Tech said that since the committee to assist journalists was established, government lawyers have not yet been able to protect journalists who are at fault.
Cheang Sokha, Deputy Secretary-General of the Union of Journalist Federations of Cambodia, said the meeting was to review the work of the committee in coordinating and resolving issues of journalists.
“I fully support the committee’s work for resolving the issues of professional media practitioners who face complaints or lawsuits,” he said, adding that the committee only intervenes for professional media outlets, not Facebook users who did not follow codes of ethics or professionalism.