Freedom of the press and freedom of information in Cambodia are restricted. The country has very few independent media outlets and these, especially in the provinces, are almost impossible to access. Most TV and radio stations are under state control or are managed by businesspeople with close ties to the government. Many journalists practice self-censorship because investigative reporting can result in punishment, penalties or worse. Some leeway, however, is offered by the Internet, which is reaching increasing numbers of Cambodians. The authorities have to date exercised relatively little control over online media. The Internet is an important platform for more open discussion and commentary as well as the expression of varying opinions. Young Cambodians especially, are using social media platforms such as Facebook to stay informed and exchange ideas.
Within this strictly controlled media landscape, a focus on online media communication is the most effective strategy to bring about increased transparency. The Internet provides access to important information that barely appears in the traditional media. However, people often lack important knowledge of how to use new media, especially in the provinces, and how the Internet can be a valuable source of information in addition to simply being an entertainment medium. For this reason, DW Akademie aims to improve the media literacy of women and young people, primarily outside of the capital, Phnom Penh. This will enable them to access, assess and disseminate information themselves. Additionally, DW Akademie is supporting the development of a multimedia online platform focusing on Cambodia's Khmer Rouge era. This is targeted particularly at teenagers and young adults, who will also be involved in providing content for the platform. DW Akademie is also participating in a project to promote greater involvement of women in the political process. Funded by the Delegation of the European Union to Cambodia, the project focuses on encouraging young female voters to participate more fully in political and electoral processes, while also helping female candidates for office fine-tune their media skills.
Funding sources: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ); European Union (EU)
Country coordinator: Sabina Casagrande
Operational locations: Phnom Penh, Kampong Cham, Svay Rieng, Kampong Thom, Siem Reap, Battambang
Local partners: Cambodian Center for Independent Media(CCIM), Documentation Center of Cambodia (DC-Cam), Media for Education and Development in Action (MEDIA One), Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport - Kingdom of Cambodia, Women’s Media Centre of Cambodia, Banteay Srei