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Can Online Resources Boost Reading Habits?

Mr. Var Sam Ath, Deputy Director of Khmer Writers Association talks on VOA Khmer's Hello VOA radio call-in show in Phnom Penh, Thursday, July 14, 2014. (Lim Sothy/VOA Khmer)

Many Cambodians do not have strong reading habits. But the advent of information technology could give reading a boost.

Var Sam Ath, deputy director of the Khmer Writers Association, told “Hello VOA” on Monday that online habits could strengthen literary interests.

“We put literature works under the shelter of websites to meet the needs of Cambodia youngsters, who are proud of having modern electronic gadgets and who like reading things on those cool electronic tools,” he said.

Var Sam Ath acknowledges that there are cases of copyright violations in Cambodia. He said this happens because of two reasons.

“First is to catch up with current competition in the free market,” he said. “They have copied only the most successful foreign art works. And second, it is time consuming and much more costly to produce the original.”

A young writer, Kong Sovan Sreychhouk, told VOA Khmer by phone that ineffective implementation of copyrights law discourages a younger generation from becoming writers.

“When they write books, their works are not protected by copyright law, meaning most of them are copied without permission,” she said.

However, she acknowledges that the Cambodian government has been organizing seminars and workshops to educate writers about copyright law.

Knowing that writers will face economic difficulties, she still wants to pursue the profession.

This is due to the fact that she was born liking writing, and when she is writing, she can live in a world of her imagination, free from all challenges, she said. She hopes her writing can reflect social realities and change society.

Both Var Sam Ath and Kong Sovan Sreychhouk acknowledge that the number of young Cambodian writers has significantly increased and the quality of their works has also been improved.