Phay Siphan is the spokesman for the Cambodian government. On Reporters Without Borders’ World Press Freedom Index, Cambodia ranks 144 out of 178. Ahead of the international press freedom day, VOA Khmer’s Aun Chhengpor sat down with Siphan to talk about reporting on corruption, independent journalism, and professionalism.
VOA: Is there a free press in Cambodia?
Phay Siphan: Cambodia has taken a big step toward what we call a free press regime in the context of an open and democratic nation where we need journalists who have freedom. But at the same time, journalists need to be responsible for what they speak and write.
VOA: Are reporters free to report on whatever topic they want?
Phay Siphan: Yes. Whatever you want to report, do it. But it must be built on the basis of truth, and be neither terrifying, nor create a misunderstanding that leads to uprising. Journalists are neither political activists nor do they belong to any political party. They only need to be professional.
Journalists need to report accurately and comprehensively, not perform the role of a political activist.