Television news reports about violence against women reveal the identities of victims and abusers almost 90 percent of the time, according to an Asia Foundation report published yesterday.
The report was released at a Ministry of Information and Ministry of Women’s Affairs event on the government’s code of conduct for media outlets reporting on violence against women.
The study analysed almost 5,000 hours of footage from five stations: TV5, MyTV, CTN, Hang Meas and Bayon TV from March 2016 to February 2017.
The code of conduct sets out 15 guidelines, including that media should not report detailed information or pictures of violent acts related to violence against women or rape.
Reporting should also not show video footage of victims and perpetrators of violence, or information that gives readers a better understanding of the identity of the victims or perpetrators.
Asia Foundation programme director Chy Terith said 88 percent of hours of footage analysed by the organisation clearly identified victims and abusers.
In nine percent of hours checked, news commentators blamed victims for violence perpetrated against them.
“The identity and pictures of victims and abusers are still broadcast clearly, with detailed information,” he said. “Blaming victims on TV has a detrimental effect on women.”
Information Ministry spokesman Ouk Kimseng said the code of conduct, which came into force in July, was intended to protect women’s honour.
He added that it was easy for the ministry to monitor TV stations that are registered with it, however many news outlets now post videos on social media, which is harder to control.
“Women are victimised at the hands of their abusers and then victimised again by the news reports that cause them shame and affect their honour,” he said. “We don’t want to see news commentators blaming the victims on TV.”
Long Sophally, undersecretary of state at the Ministry of Women’s Affairs, said that media must obey the code of conduct to protect women.
“All news reporters and commentators must remember the rights of victims,” she said. “From November 25 to December 10, the government and NGOs are running a white ribbon campaign to raise awareness of and put an end to violence against women and children.”