Cambodian Journalism Review

AEA Cambodia Communications Director Dies As A Child’s Life Is Saved In Road Crash
October 17, 2016, 2:17 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

AEA Cambodia Communications Director Dies  

As A Child’s Life Is Saved In Road Crash


Sek Barisoth, Communications Director for Aid et Action in Cambodia and mentor to a generation of Cambodian journalists, died in a traffic accident in Cambodia on Sunday. He was officially 51 though he was nine years older in reality. He is survived by his wife and two teenaged sons.

Mr. Barisoth joined AEA in March 2016 shortly after he had completed a consultancy work for the organization to produce stories about children’s education in Cambodia.

As the Communications Director, Mr. Barisoth has made a huge accomplishment in ensuring and encouraging disabled, indigenous and other children who had abandoned their studies or didn’t have the opportunities to go to school to go to school as part of the efforts of the Cambodian Consortium for Out of School Children. As a result, around 40,000 such marginalized children have picked up their school bags, books and pens and sat in classrooms with other Cambodian students at different schools in the 25 cities and provinces across the country.

On the day he died, Mr. Barisoth was traveling with three other colleagues to hold a learning forum and conduct training on school governance and advocacy with 20 other NGO partners for school principals and school support committees in the remote province of Rattanakiri, home to different ethnic minority groups whose children are one of the targets of AEA’s CCOSC program.

Mr. Barisoth might not have finished his unfinished job to send all children to school. However, a child’s life was saved while Mr. Barisoth’s life was lost during the accident.

In a country where hit-and-run crashes make headlines on a regular basis, the AEA’s driver and team members in the car led by Mr. Barisoth made a decision that any child caring people would do by driving the car into road side ditch to avoid hitting the child who was running across the highway. The car rolled over several times, sending Mr. Barisoth to his death and injuring the driver and two other passengers.

Before joining AEA, Mr. Barisoth had had a long career as an English translator and teacher, a journalist, a communication specialist and a media trainer and lecturer. The list goes on.

After surviving the Khmer Rouge’s reign of terror between 1975 and 1979, Mr. Barisoth decided to reduce his age by nine years like many Cambodians of his generation so that he could continue his studies to make up for the time lost during the Khmer Rouge period and the five-year civil war earlier.

After he completed high school in 1984, Mr. Barisoth joined the Cambodian News Agency as Chief of Media Translator and later as the Head of the Current Affair Bureau who translated and checked news articles from English and French into Khmer language besides writing editorials and news analysis.

In 1992 as free press was introduced to Cambodia following the Paris Peace Agreement a year earlier, Mr. Barisoth was employed by UNESCO as a media program assistant before rising to the position of the Director of the UNESCO-run Cambodia Communication Institute between 1997 and 2003.

Mr. Barisoth’s career had taken him to different places, including the Cambodian International Academy (2003-2005), Pact Cambodia as Director of Anti-Corruption and Media Program (2005-2012), UNODC as National Program Officer (2012-2013), Royal University of Phnom Penh’s Department of Media and Communication (DMC) as Journalism Lecturer (2010-2016), Advocacy and Policy Institute as Technical Advisor (2013-2015), American University of Phnom Penh as Director of Communications (2015-2016) and Cambodia Institute for Media Studies as Board Chairman (2015-2016).

Nevertheless, Mr. Barisoth’s multi-skilled jobs from one organization to another might not be possible without his seemingly endless studies from English language to political science and journalism and media management inside Cambodia and abroad.

In 1989, he spent a year at Moscow Academy of Social Science studying political science, which earned him a diploma in equivalence to a post graduate degree. He was more or less overwhelmed by the Russian philosophy.

In sharp contrast, Mr. Barisoth became dominated by western ideology and democratic principles after spending four months at Alabama University in the United States in 1995, where he studied journalism skills. A year later, he went to Denmark for three months to study media management skills.

Probably having mentored by both philosophies and ideologies, Mr. Barisoth seemed to have made friends and socialized well with friends and colleagues from all ideologies and political spectrums in the government and civil society organizations. He had developed a non-confrontational attitude and approach when dealing with sensitive and controversial issues like anti-corruption and media ethics.

Upon hearing about his death, Prime Minister Hun Sen sent his condolences and donated 10 million riels (about 2,500 US dollars) for the funeral, while Information Minister Khieu Kanharith donated 500 dollars separately.

Soon after the news of his death was spread, condolences have poured in through Facebook pages and mainstreams media by colleagues and friends who remember him as a respectful, compassionate and hard-working man.

“In memory of these great people who spent their whole life for the sake of journalism: Sek Barisoth, Pen Samithy and Reach Sambath,” writes DMC Director Som Ratana. “Their leaving is a great loss for us all.”

“Feeling shocked and sad to hear that Mr. Sek Barisoth passed away by a car accident…,” says Pouv Savuth, Training Manager at the Cambodia Institute for Media Studies, in his Facebook page.

“I have lost another good friend,” writes Steven Pak. “We used to make common accomplishments together at the CCI from 1995 to 2000 to train Cambodian journalists in all 24 provinces. I am very shocked and sad to hear the news.”

Probably Aid et Action and the children in its program have felt the direct impact of the loss of its committed Communications Director like Mr. Sek Barisoth.

“He was a role model who had the passion and dedicated his life by using his different skills and knowledge with his colleagues for the sake of Cambodian children so that those who didn’t have the opportunities to go to school or had dropped of school could go to school,” says Vorn Samphors, Country Director of Aid et Action.


King Father’s Tolerance Legacy for Journalists
October 22, 2012, 3:27 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

King Father’s Tolerance Legacy for Journalists

By Cambodia Institute for Media Studies

October 22, 2012


                The Cambodia Institute for Media Studies as well as other Cambodian journalists would like to join other Khmer people in mourning the great loss of our King Father Samdech Preah Norodom Sihanouk, who passed away on October 15, 2012.


                In addition to his numerous achievements for Cambodia and the Cambodian people, our revered King Father has left behind a great legacy of tolerance for the media and journalists as a role model in establishing democracy and in the respect for press freedoms and freedom of expression in Cambodia. Continue reading

The fight for freedom begins with freedom of speech
March 13, 2012, 2:17 am
Filed under: Free Speech

The fight for freedom begins with freedom of speech

Free expression is a basic human right that must be exercised in the face of oppression

By Aung San Suu Kyi, The Observer, Sunday 11 March 2012


Supporters listen to a speech delivered by Aung San Suu Kyi during her election campaign. Photograph: Khin Maung Win/AP

The gift of speech is the most effective instrument for human communication. The ability to communicate enables us to establish links across time and space, to learn to understand different civilisations and cultures, to extend knowledge both vertically and horizontally, to promote the arts and sciences. It also helps to bridge gaps in understanding between peoples and nations, to put an end to old enmities, to achieve detente, to cultivate new fellowships.

Speech allows human beings to articulate their thoughts and emotions. Words allow us to express our feelings, to record our experiences, to realise our ideas, to push outwards the frontiers of intellectual exploration. Words can move hearts, words can change perceptions, words can set nations and peoples in powerful motion. Words are an essential part of the expression of our humanness. To shackle freedom of speech and expression is to cripple the basic right to realise our full potential. Continue reading

Kingdom relieved after US internet law fails to pass
January 26, 2012, 9:26 am
Filed under: Free Speech

Kingdom relieved after US internet law fails to pass

by Brennan Stark, The Phnom Penh Post, Tuesday, 24 January 2012

The postponement of two US internet piracy bills last week was met with relief by human rights and media experts in Cambodia, who say the overreaching grasp of the proposed legislation would hinder the internet’s progress and growth in the Kingdom.

The US House of Representative’s Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Senate’s PROTECT IP Act (PIPA) had aimed to require that internet providers block access to websites accused of piracy and would criminalise the unlawful streaming of copyrighted material by domestic or foreign websites.

Mike Gaertner, chief operating officer of Phnom Penh-based CIDC Information Technology, said the proposed measures would hurt only the US market in the long run. Continue reading

Prime Minister Renews Attacks on US Broadcasters
November 29, 2011, 10:09 am
Filed under: Press Freedom

Prime Minister Renews Attacks on US Broadcasters

Kong Sothanarith, VOA Khmer, Monday, 28 November 2011


In recent month, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen has made a number of public speeches against broadcasters VOA Khmer and Radio Free Asia for critical coverage of his government.

“Go ahead, broadcast my speeches,” he said at a ceremony to inaugurate a bridge in Kampot province earlier this month.

He asked the crowd to point out the RFA reporter present. “Go ahead, insult me,” he said. “I won because you insulted me. The more you insult, the more you make a mistake.” Continue reading

Cambodian Journalists Still Face More Challenges
October 15, 2011, 3:00 am
Filed under: Commentary

Cambodian Journalists Still Face More Challenges

Moeun Chhean Nariddh’s Letter to the editor, The Phnom Penh Post Khmer, 14 October 2011


Dear editor,

I am very interested in reading about the assessment by the Phnom Penh Post’s Publisher of the media situation in Cambodia in the article “The Post: Society Looking Glass,” October 11.

First, I must congratulate the Post on its turning point to make profits in the media business in Cambodia after four years of heavy losses.

The Post’s success has proved that it is not only a professional newspaper, but it also has a sound business strategy to win the support of readers and advertisers in Cambodia’s competitive media business environment.

However, not many Cambodian newspapers have been as successful. Regardless of their sizes, only a handful of the 398 newspapers registered at the Ministry of Information have become relatively successful and been able to continue their publications. Hundreds of other newspapers became bankrupt less than a year into the media business. Continue reading

The Phnom Penh Post: Society’s Looking Glass
October 12, 2011, 4:31 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

The Phnom Penh Post: Society’s Looking Glass

by Stuart Alan Becker, Tuesday, 11 October 2011
ONE of the most colourful characters in Cambodia’s publishing industry is Australian Ross Dunkley, 54, the publisher of both The Phnom Penh Post and The Myanmar Times.

Dunkley has sailed with Rupert Murdoch, smoked cigars with Robert DeNiro, watched Francis Ford Copp-ola speak on the telephone in Hanoi, joked with Vaclav Havel and received encouragement from United Nations secretary-general Ban Ki-Moon on an aircraft out of Myanmar.

Here in Phnom Penh, he is on the verge of pushing  The Phnom Penh Post into profit-ability following more than four years of losses.

“What people don’t acknowledge enough is that Cambodia has the freest media market in Asia,’’ Dunkley says. Continue reading