Spokespersons told to work with the media as ‘partners’

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Some 60 spokespersons from government ministries attend a workshop on Wednesday. Heng Chivoan

The Ministry of Environment has told spokespersons at government ministries not to regard journalists as rivals, but rather, as partners working to disseminate news to the public.

The ministry’s secretary of state and spokesman Neth Pheaktra said this at a workshop discussion under the theme Active spokesman leads to the effective maintenance and promotion of sovereignty, independence and national pride.

Being held on Wednesday in Phnom Penh, the workshop has some 60 spokespersons attending from ministries, institutions and representatives of local media.

Pheaktra said spokespersons have a crucial role in explaining to the public the positions of their respective ministries [on various topics].

“We have real and correct information, but if we do not have a way to express, speak and share it, our information will be spoiled and no one wants to eat that."

“We need to work with media and cannot consider journalists as our rivals. We have to regard them as our partners to disseminate news to the public. We also have to listen to outside information,” he said.

The press, Pheakthra said, plays a crucial role as a mirror that reflects and brings people accurate information.

“Sometimes, reports from subordinates can be fake or just lies, but this will cause their superiors to wrongly assess such reports. Hence, our decision will be wrongly made as well."

“The press will join in to fill in the gaps, so we need to use a strategy to cooperate and stand firm whether the content of the report is for or against the government.”

He suggested that heads of the institutions release information through their spokespersons, who are windows through which the public can obtain information from the various government ministries.