The government will provide public relations and communications training to sub-national level officials in a bid to improve the free flow of information within the country, officials and an NGO director said yesterday.
The Interior and Information Ministries, in cooperation with German development organization Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung, will begin conducting communications training for provincial-level officials in January, according to KAS country director Rabea Brauer.
“We’re starting something that is very much needed to get some transparency and accountability,” Ms Brauer said yesterday.
The training will be conducted by local media specialists and experts from partner organizations like the Club of Cambodian Journalists, Ms Brauer said.
“Its a lot of Cambodian experience. We are trying to keep it Cambodia-related,” she said.
The organization has been running communications programs for district-level officials since 2001 and has already seen positive results, she said. The new program will run for two years initially, but could be extended depending on the results, Ms Brauer added.
Information Minister and government spokesman Khieu Kanharith said the program would help with the government’s program of decentralization, and would demonstrate the government’s commitment to improving access to information.
“With decentralization…it’ll [be] crucial to respond quickly to any problem at the grassroots level and in the same time to ‘walk the talk’ on the people’s access to information,” he said.
Mr Kanharith said the program would be rolled out in every province, with a total of between 30 and 45 provincial-level officials receiving training.
Provincial officials up to and including the rank of deputy governor will be asked to participate, said Meas Kim Suon, director of the Information Ministry’s media training center.
“The trainees would be at least the deputy provincial governors and provincial council members,” he said.
Pen Samitthy, president of the CCJ, said the trainees would learn how, and when, to present information to the public and media.
“They will know how to write press releases, and they will understand what kind of information they should reveal to the people. They work for the government, so they will protect the government interest,” he said.