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Journalists’ integrity questioned at awards

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Information Ministry’s secretary of state Chea Chanboribo (centre) questions journalists’ integrity at an award ceremony. Soth Koemsoeun

Journalists’ integrity questioned at awards

Ministry of Information secretary of state Chea Chanboribo questioned journalists’ integrity during a peace award ceremony on Sunday and accused them of injecting their own opinions and moral judgments in their stories.

Chanboribo said journalists who continue to report without clear sources or without gathering information from all involved parties can contribute to misinformation and cause chaos and insecurity. This, he said will affect the reputation of journalists who do their jobs professionally.

“I cannot tell how many journalists [spread misinformation], but they do exist. We should remedy this issue. Recently, I heard people say journalists did this and that or report [false information].

“It made me ashamed, because I work in this sector. If we want people to highly value us, we need to value ourselves first,” said Chanboribo.

CCJ president Pen Bona said journalists must be trained and uphold professional standards and a code of ethics. They must not report based on suggestions, recommendations or orders from authorities and should choose the stories they report on themselves.

“We all work as journalists. We all know that the negative issues and stories are good for journalists, so we all focus only on [them]. If we focus on positive stories, it is hard to grab the attention of our readers. Whatever topics we write about, we must consider our sense of professionalism and peace,” Bona said.

Radio France International (RFI) journalist Ing Bunthorn, who is an ACT award recipient, said he is unaware if journalists from the growing number of online news portals actually received proper training or were taught moral and ethical codes of conduct.

He said he came to this conclusion as too often, such journalists added their own opinions rather than state the facts.

“I don’t know if they have studied journalism. I saw that they reported based on their own opinions. They said this person or that person was wrong without referring to sources.

“I think if they want to be journalists, they should learn about journalism’s professional standards and moral and ethical codes of conduct before doing so,” said Bunthorn.

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