The National Election Commission (NEC) of The Kingdom of Cambodia has released a Code of Conduct for Press in the perspective of the 29 July 2018 elections that received world-wide acclaim for protecting freedom of the press, promoting responsible and accurate reporting and supporting the free and correct information for the people of Cambodia.
This is a perfect example of balancing the rights to information and free reporting on elections in the era of fake news and is even more impressive as the country has experienced a series of scandals regarding fake news promoters in the Kingdom like PHNOM PENH POST and CAMBODIA DAILY, newspapers that where at the center of a host of controversy creating fake news and excelling in manipulation and propaganda of the lowest rank.
Despite this unfortunately episodes the Government of Cambodia has decided to weight in and respect the rights of press and uphold the rights of information in the perspective of expected July 2018 national elections.
The NEC press release said the Code of Conduct for Media contains requirements and prohibitions they must conform to.
The requirements are as follows:
• Journalist associations, journalist institutions or independent journalists who wish to cover news on the electoral process can apply for registration directly at the NEC. Alternatively, they may download the registration form from NEC’s website.
As of May 23, the NEC has issued press passes to 284 journalists from 35 media organisations – including 51 foreign journalists from 15 media outlets – to cover the elections.
• For national journalists, the registration deadline is 10 days prior to election day, while for international journalists the registration deadline is 5:30pm three days before election day.
• National and international journalists who wish to take pictures in voter registration stations and polling and ballot counting stations should notify the chief of the Voters Registration Task Force in advance.
The media is prohibited from the following activities:
• Broadcasting news that leads to confusion and loss of confidence in the election.
• Broadcasting news based on rumour or lack of evidence.
• Using provocative language that may cause disorder or violence.
• Publishing news that affects national security and political and social stability.
• Expressing personal opinions or prejudice in reported events.
• Interfering or disrupting voter registration, polling and ballot-counting processes.
• Conducting interviews at voter registration stations, polling stations and ballot-counting stations.