Around 80 citizen journalists from around Cambodia held a meeting in Phnom Penh Wednesday, in a first-ever networking event for a new kind of reporter in the country.
Professional journalists and other media professionals joined the event, sponsored by the Cambodian Center for Independent Media and the Community Legal Education Center.
They shared their experiences with monks, students, rights activists and even garment factory workers—all of whom hope to make up a loose network of citizen journalists in their communities.
The citizen journalists have received training in news-writing and reporting, as well as photography and videography, so that they can report from their homes on happenings there.
“Apart from sharing their experiences with other citizen journalists, we hope they can also build networks with professional journalists,” said Kaing Tongngy, a spokesman for the Cambodian Center for Independent Media. “Sometimes these citizens will give professional journalists some clue when there is something happening in far community.”
Kit Meng, a 31-year-old garment worker, said likes work as a citizen journalist, filing stories about the country’s garment industry. She shares her work on social media, including text, photos and video. “I’m happy and will continue this citizen journalist work, because I can share anything I want about garment workers,” she said.
In Cambodia, the number of professional journalists is limited, making citizen journalism more important, said Kem Ley, an independent analyst.
“Because they are everywhere, they can share and send us hidden news,” said Yeng Virak, director of the Community Legal Education Center. “And they can be resources for professional journalists to write stories.”