Report on World Press Freedom Day 2010

555Discussion on Freedom of Information : the Right to Know from Cambodian Perspective

Phnom Penh (May 01, 2010): With support from Konrad Adenauer Stifstung ( KAS), Club of Cambodian Journalists (CCJ) on Saturday May 01 Conducted a media gathering to celebrate the World Press Freedom Day May 3. The event was attended by Ms. Rabea Brauer, KAF representative in Cambodia, H.E Khieu Kanharith, Cambodia’s Minister of Information, Mr. Teruo JINNAI, UNECO Representative in Cambodia, representatives of foreign embassies, EC, both national and international NGOs, and over 200 journalists.

Before reading the CCJ message, Mr. Penn Samitthy, President of Club of Cambodian Journalists, said that the event was organized in order to allow the Cambodian journalists to join their world colleagues around the globe to celebrate the world press freedom day.

Later on, Mr. Samitthy read the CCJ message which reflected the development of the press freedom in Cambodia. The message also emphasizes the importance of rights to know and the role played by the media to disseminate the information to the public. In order to play such a crucial role, it is important that the journalists shall enjoy the press freedom.

Mr. Teruo JINNAI, USNESCO representative in Cambodia read the message from the UNESCO General Director in which the world body stresses that the people will not be able to exercise their right to know if the media is not free enough to provide accurate and independent information.

The right to know is central for upholding other basic rights, for furthering transparency, justice and development. Hand-in-hand with the complementary notion of freedom of expression, it underpins democracy, said the UNESCO General Director’s message.

We may not consciously exercise our right to know. But each time we pick up a newspaper, turn on the TV or radio news, or go on the Internet, the quality of what we see or hear depends on these media having access to accurate and up to date information, it added. After Mr. Teruo JINNAI’s reading out the message of the UNESCO General Director, Ms. Rabea Brauer said that she appreciated CCJ for conducting such event to join the world journalists to celebrate their freedom of the press.

In her remarks, Rabea reminded what happened in the past 20 years for the East Germany and other communist countries where freedom of the press and freedom of speech were unavailable. She said the communist regimes closed down all media organizations and printing houses that criticized the governments. It is now, she said, different that Germany and other former communist countries have no more censorship and the people enjoy freedom of speech and freedom of the press.

Rabea also urged the Cambodian journalists, especially CCJ members, to fight for their profassional careers and for freedom of the press because all of these cannot come easily. Information Ministry Khieu Kanharith welcomes the event and said that the royal government of Cambodian through the Ministry of Information journalists always support the journalists who perform their job professionally.

Two hours before the gathering started, CCJ Board anf Founding Members held a meeting to discuss CCJ internal affair. The meeting specifically focused on the process of the preparation to organize the 10th anniversary of CCJ in mid September, the upcoming board member election in October, and possible amendment of CCJ statute and regulation so as to strengthen CCJ activities and image in the future. The meeting also talked about a joint-forum of Department of Media and Communication, CCJ, and KAS.

Phnom Penh 20 May, 2010