Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Calls for journos to use care when describing drug users

Calls for journos to use care when describing drug users

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Media outlets have been called on to use care when describing drug users. Hong Menea

Calls for journos to use care when describing drug users

Media outlets have been called on to use care when describing drug users and to not disclose details that might reveal their identity or that of their family in order to avoid harming their chances of treatment.

The call came in a meeting with journalists to remind them of the Joint Declaration on the Media Code of Conduct For Reporting Related to Drug Use and Drug Users held in the Club of Cambodian Journalists (CCJ) in Phnom Penh on Thursday.

Chhay Sophal, journalism professor and deputy director of the CCJ, said drug users should be considered as victims and patients, with the media having a responsibility to help them.

“Drug users are victims and patients, so we will cause them further harm if we call them things like ‘drug-play gangster’, ‘drug addict boy or ‘drug-mad girl’. These terms will make them more despairing."

“As journalists, we should try to not use accusatory words but rather those that encourage them to seek treatment”.

The Media Code of Conduct on Drug Use has 15 articles, including guidelines on not using discriminatory words or those with a stigma attached in the reporting of drug use as the shame caused could disrupt a user’s treatment.

Information that could reveal a drug user’s identity or that of their family in either an article or in photographs, audio or video should also not be used.

Journalists also have the duty to not use language that will cause shame or embarrassment when reporting on drug use.

Choub Sok Chamreun, the executive director of HIV/Aids NGO Khana, said journalism is an important tool in inspiring drug users to get treatment, but if journalists didn’t implement the Media Code of Conduct they could further harm users and their families.

“The harm that can be done to their reputation by revealing details about their identity could make users too ashamed to come for treatment, and this will worsen their condition."

“But if journalists were supportive, then it would help them have the confidence to find help because now we have many treatment facilities,” Sok Chamreun said.

A Ministry of Health report said Cambodia has 16 provisional drug treatment centres and 430 district, provincial and city hospitals that can provide help.

MOST VIEWED

  • Police seek arrest of Chinese ‘gang’

    Cambodian police remain on the lookout for 20 Chinese nationals who earlier this month posted a video clip threatening to stoke insecurity in Preah Sihanouk province, though the Chinese Embassy in Phnom Penh maintained the group posed no threats to Cambodia’s national security. National Police

  • Man arrested for fake PM endorsement

    The owner of currency exchange company GCG Asia Co Ltd was temporarily detained by the court yesterday for attempted fraud after Prime Minister Hun Sen reacted to the company using his name and pictures to allege his endorsement of the firm. Phnom Penh Municipal Court

  • Rapper deletes song critical of Cambodian social issues

    A young musician has deleted from Facebook and YouTube a rap song that was critical of Cambodia’s social issues and announced that he will stop singing the song after officials visited his home in Siem Reap province and allegedly gave him a warning. Provincial

  • Sihanoukville authority orders structure dismantled

    The Preah Sihanouk provincial administration has ordered owners of two unauthorised construction sites to immediately dismantle them and warned of legal action if the owners failed to comply. Ly Chet Niyom, development management and construction bureau chief at the provincial hall, told The Post on