Around 400 journalists receive travel permits during lockdown

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
A reporter fulfils his duty during lockdown in Phnom Penh on April 15. Hean Rangsey

The Ministry of Information has issued permits to some 400 journalists to travel during the lockdown period, ministry spokesman Meas Sophorn confirmed on April 21.

“Until now, we have reviewed and granted some 400 out of 500 requests. In the meantime, we call on journalists to join hands to break the chain of Covid-19 transmission by adhering to measures the government and lockdown commission have put in place.

“They should try their best to perform their work online in order to cut the number of people travelling on the streets in the lockdown areas. This would be a great contribution to the government and the Ministry of Health in an effort to minimise community transmission cases.

"This is for the interests of our own, families and the nation,” Sophorn said.

The information ministry’s Information and broadcasting director-general, Phos Sovann, said on April 20 that the ministry will abide by the lockdown order and will issue travel permission for only two per cent of an institution's entire staff.

“Our priority is to provide travel permits to TV and radio stations which have a lot of staff members and international media based in Cambodia. For other media, we are still considering what to do next," he said.

Kuon Sambor, editor-in-chief of the Chinese media CC-Times, said he had received travel permits on April 19. Prior to this, his media outlet had put four people on standby at the office, while the rest worked from home.

“Lockdown affects everybody, not just the media. For journalists, it is hard to go down to cover stories and contact sources for interview,” he said.

Nop Vy, executive director of the Cambodian Journalist Alliance (CamboJA), said lockdown was the best way to cut the chain of virus transmission.

“It poses risks if travel is allowed in this current circumstance. I call on journalists to understand this situation and join hands to stop the spread of the virus,” he said.