Press Release2008 LICADHO Report: Media plagued by fear And corruption
Cambodian League for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights (LICADHO)
May 1, 2008 - Cambodia's media is often described as one of the freest in the region, but in reality journalists describe an environment in which the pursuit of truth is undermined by political bias, fear and corruption.
Most of Cambodia's media outlets are aligned to a political party and most favor the ruling Cambodian People's Party (CPP). Bribes are so commonplace they are not even considered corruption. Formal censorship exists and self-censorship is widespread through Cambodia's media.
A new survey shows that many Cambodian journalists have been attacked - physically or legally - and most feel vulnerable. Threats and fear have a direct influence on their work, and their reporting has a direct influence on the public's perception of their country, especially around election periods.
“Remaining criminal sanctions need to be eliminated including disinformation and misinformation to ensure an environment free of political pressures for media to cover sensitive and important issues affecting Cambodians” says Naly Pilorge, Director of LICADHO.
While some journalists are victims to this system and some are part of the problem, a significant number of Cambodian journalists wish the situation was different. They complain of low pay and pressure to conform to ingrained political biases. A surprising 85 percent of Cambodian journalists consider themselves to be "human rights defenders".
These are some of the findings of a new report from LICADHO, titled Reading Between the Lines: How Politics, Money and Fear Control Cambodia's Media published in celebration of World Press Freedom Day, May 3, 2008.
“There is still hope as most journalists have expressed the desire to be able to perform their work in an ethical, impartial and professional manner”, says LICADHO’s President Kek Galabru.
This 72-page baseline report looks at Cambodia's media from a human rights perspective. The report gives an overview of the media environment, as well as covering issues such as media ownership, political bias, access to information, censorship, attacks and threats to media.
The report includes the results of a survey of 141 Cambodian journalists across the country - one of the most comprehensive media survey ever undertaken - as well as insights from key media stakeholders.
For more information, please contact:
• Dr. Kek Galabru, President of LICADHO at 012 940 645