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Expert Touts Rise of Citizen Journalists

A journalist takes a photo using a smart phone during a press conference, file photo.
A journalist takes a photo using a smart phone during a press conference, file photo.
Citizens can be journalists, and they can help Cambodia face ongoing issues like illegal logging, rights abuses and corruption, a communications technology expert says.

Ngeth Moses, ICT coordinator for the Community Legal Education Center, told “Hello VOA” Monday that new tools are making it easier for so-called citizen journalists to emerge.

“They can get audio and video from the field where those problems occur, and share them quickly on social media,” he said.

Ngeth Moses has trained hundreds of people, from rights workers to students to monks, on how to use technology like smartphones and laptops to capture news and events, and then to share them.

The rise of social media, particularly Facebook and YouTube, among Cambodians in the past few years has meant the emergence of an increasing number of photos and videos from real events across the country, he said.

Citizens acting in the role of journalists have captured deforestation, police brutality and the woes of land-grab victims, sharing them widely online, he said.

“Those citizen journalists in the community can be assistants to professional journalists who are unable to reach scenes of these happenings on time,” he said. This is especially true in the provinces, he said. “We in Phnom Penh have a hard time getting some information, in the form of audio and footage, but these citizen journalists can get it easily, as they are in the community.”

That information can be shared publicly or passed on to professional journalists, he said. “So that they can look into it more deeply.”

“Anyone can be a journalist, by following the news, reading newspapers, listening to the radio, and keeping themselves informed about what is going on in their community,” he said. “And they can easily pass the information to the public.”