Cambodian Journalism Review

Bribing journalists
October 20, 2007, 9:59 am
Filed under: Commentary, Khmer Press


Phnom Penh Post


Bribing journalists


Last month, the Post wrote a story about bribes or gifts to journalists by organizers at a meeting or press conference. Now it has come to their school.

Last week, I witnessed organizers of another press conference in a hired meeting room at the Cambodia Communication Institute distribute money to journalists again. I appreciated their generosity towards our media colleagues. But what was the real motive?

I would like to express my concern as a journalist, and not on behalf of the institute, over the so-called “gifts” to reporters who attended the conference. First, I think the $5 tips to journalists could only make them go from bad to worse.

We recognize the good work of many journalists who have tried to do their job professionally. But some journalists have very little knowledge of professional practice.

Often we see abusive language, biased reports, and distorted facts in some publications, along with defamation and intrusion into private life.

These journalists may be among those vulnerable to manipulation by crooked businessmen and politicians who use money to buy their favor.

What was sad about the conference at CCI was that the co-organizers were from a local NGO and a UN agency. I wonder how they wrote it in their budget report. Was it “gifts” to journalists?

It was even sadder that these “gifts” were distributed at a journalism school where journalists are taught to be ethical and not to accept “gifts”.

I appreciate the actions of the two women reporters from the Khmer Women’s Voice Magazine and other journalists who decided to walk away when they were called out to get the money.

I would like to remind the organizers that even though their story got a space in a newspaper one would still buy it or read it based on news judgment. A good journalist will write a good story without being paid by its source.

There are many ways to help journalists. One is to help them with training to improve themselves. Or if an organization or ministry wants to highlight their activities, they can arrange a writing contest with the participation of a panel of professional judges.

I wish not to identify or offend the organizers of the press conference. I can understand that what they did might be from their sincere kindness to help journalists. But I do wish they hadn’t helped them in this way.

– Moeun Chhean Nariddh, Trainer, Cambodia Communication Institute

Phnom Penh Post, Issue 9/20, September 29 – October 12, 2000
© Michael Hayes, 2000. All rights revert to authors and artists on publication.
For permission to publish any part of this publication, contact
Michael Hayes, Editor-in-Chief – Any comments on the website to


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