Cambodia Shares Experience in Fighting Fake News

AKP Phnom Penh, July 02, 2020 —

Cambodia joined other countries in the region to share experience in promoting fact news consumption to fight against the fake news which has caused tremendous anxiety and fear in people’s mind and mistrust inside a community.

The sharing was made in a Media Dialogue on Disinformation, Legislation and Freedom of Expression organised via Videoconference by the Asia-Pacific Institute for Broadcasting Development (AIBD) on July 2 afternoon.

Joined by key media practitioners in the region of Asia Pacific, the webinar aimed to bring leaders, policy makers, experts and media together to share ideas, experience and knowledge.

Through the dialogue, it could enhance media and information literacy, help create knowledge that will contribute in tackling issues of disinformation and misinformation, AIBD said.

In his keynote address, H.E. Khieu Kanharith said that during the corona pandemic, false information has been spread faster than the virus itself.

Some groups or some countries, instead of promoting joint effort to solve the problem, are trying to reject blame to the other for the benefit of their own interest, and by doing so had pushed the people into more confusion and chaos, he said.

“Cambodia is no exception to this sad event. Here, during the pandemic the disinformation is mainly for political gain. From thousands of deaths per day to Conspiracy Theory of government hiding the real figure and finally to claim that the pandemic is just a hoax, Cambodian people was sometime at loss, and an atmosphere of mistrust, of fear and even to some racist attitude appeared,” H.E. Khieu Kanharith underlined.

“We set up a popular trusted team to be a contact point for whoever need confirmation of whatsoever he or her heard or read about,’ he said. “Secondly, a speedy clarification using simple language from concerned institutions is the best disinformation killer while in the same time we could ensure that our people could enjoy their freedom of expression without fear.”

H.E. Minister also emphasised, “social media can also help us combating the spread of disinformation when we form a 24 hour-Specialised team to reply to any inquiries from our citizens.”

Facing these challenges, some proposed to draft anti-fake news law, some proposed a crackdown on some political groups or people deemed to have an anti-social behavior, he said, adding that under a clear leadership of Prime Minister Samdech Akka Moha Sena Padei Techo Hun Sen, Cambodia keeps a cool head and no new law is needed, no crackdown was taken.

“We can’t create new law every time we have new case, but a strong leadership, a strong determination, a strong teamwork and a joint effort are the key to fight this 21st century evil,” he explained.

Fake News or Disinformation about the spread of Coronavirus created more anxieties and panic in societies than the real virus, according to AIBD, stressing that although the governments and health agencies made relentless appeals still people resorted to fake information circulating online, causing disruption and fears.

(Photo: Khem Sovannara)

By Chea Vannak