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Published by UNDP Cambodia, 2020-01-01 22:45:43

2nd Cambodia Media Lab - Recap

2nd Cambodia Media Lab - Recap

OCTOBER 4, 2019






Cambodia Media Lab

On October 4th, 2019, UNDP conducted the
2nd Cambodia Media Lab. The Lab focussed on
the topic of media resilience in Southeast Asia
and sought to seek answers to the question
"How to write a story that's not your last?"

The lack of media resilience has remained as
one of the biggest challenges in newsrooms
globally. Counties across the region have been
responding with the creation of alternative
media products, ones which are capable of
surviving, even thriving, in the most challenging

To dive deeper into this subject, the UNDP
Media Alternatives Team brought in one of
Southeast Asia’s most storied and innovative
newsrooms, Rappler and together with two
experienced Cambodian media professionals
they discussed how, despite the challenges
around media resilience, each of them has
continued to report the news.

"While, technology has fundamentally changed Ms. Sonali Dayaratne
traditional business approaches, content
production, distribution, and even ownership, many
of these media alternatives across the
globe continue to keep governments, legislators,
and big business in check by keeping society or the
public informed. These are all essential ingredients
of a democratic society and are among the pillars of
the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.”

- Ms. Sonali Dayaratne, Deputy Resident
Representatives of UNDP Cambodia, spoke at
the event opening remarks.


The Rappler Story 

"We set our vision and bring everyone along," said Chay F. HOFILEÑA, head of
Rappler's Investigative Desk, during the presentation on the story of Rappler.

Rappler is a media startup and was born under the era that the rapid
development of technology was shifting the power to ordinary readers.

"There is a huge number of social media users, the question is if we could use it

for positive social changes," said Chay. Social Media for

There are 27 million Filipinos on Facebook, making the country the second- Social Change

largest Facebook market in the Southeast Asian region. From a humble

beginning as a Facebook Page, Rappler has grown into a model media enterprise

and one of the region's most recognizable media brands – defending freedom of

expression, all while building a sustainable business.

If we take a closer look at Cambodia, social media has also started to gobble up
the dominant role of traditional media outlets gradually.

As Ms. Sonali mentioned in her opening remarks, the primary question remains if
Cambodia media organizations could adapt or be informed by Rappler's success.

Panel Discussion  PAGE 3


CHAY F. HOFILEÑA is the head of Rappler's Investigative Desk –
Newsbreak – and is in charge of training. She has written extensively on
media issues and authored the book, "News for Sale: The Corruption
and Commercialization of the Philippine Media (2004)." A philosophy
major in college, she was drawn to journalism because it allowed her to
write about stories that had the potential to make a difference.
Follow her on Twitter @chayhofilena

Nop Vy is the Media Director at the Cambodian Center for Independent
Media (CCIM). He has been working with CCIM more than 10 years. He is a
member of the CCIM Management Committee -- working with journalists and
television/radio producers to develop educational programmes, news
reports and investigative stories. Currently, Nop Vy is mobilizing locally-
based journalists to launch the Cambodian Journalists Alliance (CamboJA),
which is in the process to become officially registered. The network's aim is
to widen the freedom of expression space and press freedom in Cambodia.
Follow him on Twitter @vy_nop

Prak Chan Thul is the correspondent for Reuters based in Phnom Penh,
Cambodia since 2010. Before that, Chan Thul was a journalist covering
the judiciary and general news at the Cambodia Daily. At Reuters, Chan
Thul has covered politics, businesses, economics, general elections,
Khmer Rouge Trials and other news. In 2013, he won the Editorial
Excellence Award from the Society of Publishers in Asia with his
colleague Andrew Marshall for reporting on a story: “China’s Gamble on
Cambodia’s Shrinking Forests.”
Follow him on Twitter: @prakchanthul

Bopha Seng has over 10 years of experience in media and Moderator
communications planning. Her assignments cover a wide range of
communications for development concerns such as youth
empowerment, water and sanitation, gender equality, public health,
agriculture, governance, education and environment. She provides
lectures on media and campaign development and management at the
Department of Media and Communications of Royal University of Phnom
Penh (RUPP).


My Pen is My Power

The discussion was based around three areas; Ethical journalism, the protection of journalists and economic
resilience of newsrooms. As panelists provided practical suggestions on how to report on diverse issues, the
importance of constructive engagement with the authorities, and how to encourage accountability for ones
actions. During the session, they also highlighted how powerful a tool the pen can (for authorities to listen and
for citizens to engage).
‘The foundation of journalism is in bringing the truth to your readers’
A vibrant discussion took place in relation to ensuring journalists will always be on a mission to report the
truth. The rise in technology and social media have become quick and easy tools to receive and share news
and information. What makes a ‘real’ journalist when these tools have made it possible for anyone with a
device to gather and publish “news”? How can the industry deal with fake news? How do you navigate the
hundreds of codes of conduct, charters, and statements issued by different institutes ?
The Right to Information:
Information is an important part of society and people depend on it to guide them through a complex world.
“Media plays a vital role in delivering information to the public’ Nop Vy, media director of VOD (Voice of
Democracy). He acknowledged the positive work from CCIM, civil society organizations, media organisations
and the international community on advocating for the adoption of a law on the right to information in
Cambodia. ‘It will make a significant impact once the government passes the law, it will enhance free flow of
information to people to allow for informed decision making ‘ It can help create awareness, which can help
create change.

"I really, really like that it happened, and PAGE 5
that the “Media Lab” exists. Good guest
speaker also. It was a good length and
seemed well organized. The topic was
also good." - International Journalist in


"I like the panel discussion session.So
that I can learn from the speakers'

personal experience. It inspired me to
think critically and motivated me to
contribute more to society." -
Cambodian participant

Cambodia Media Lab

We're launching the Media Alternatives Business Challenge in
Cambodia. The selected 3-4 media startups will receive a small
amount of seed funding and a 4-month incubation/acceleration

And the next media lab will be included as a part of the
incubation/acceleration program. But it will still open to the
public, promoting dialogue and developing resilient media
communities is our belief.

Also, from our participants' feedback survey, we found out that
we should engage more with young media professionals and
journalism students. There is also an active request to bring in
more successful media outlets from the region to showcases in


"As a journalist, you should not be
given a story. You should be the lead of
the story, digging for stories." - Panelist

"I will not stop being a journalist. I would like
to continue to help my country. Bring truth
to power." - Panelist

"What does Rappler value most? Truth
telling, editorial independence,
integrity." - Panelist

Empower Media, Empower People.

Sincerely thanks to all participants, partners,
and facilitators for making this happen! -
UNDP Media Alternatives Project

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