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Poor Market, Perceived Danger Keep Youth Out of Journalism: Mentor

Cambodian journalists gathered at a media conference in Cambodia, file photo.

Cambodian youth are not so keen on journalism careers, believing the job to be dangerous and underpaid, a journalism mentor says.

“Some young graduates still fear that they might be in danger, or face legal consequences, if they work as journalists,” said Tieng Sopheak Vichea, director of the Cambodia Communication Institute, which offers the country’s only four-year journalism program.

Since the program’s inception, 10 years ago, only about 20 of its 120 graduates have gone on to pursue work as actual journalists, Tieng Sopheak Vichea said, as a guest on “Hello VOA” Monday.

“The job markets for journalism do not pay as well as other careers, either,” he said. “This too discourages most journalism students from taking on a job [in journalism] after graduation.”

Still, he said, the environment has improved recently, with fewer journalists facing complaints, jail time or other threats.

“You can protect yourself if you stick to journalistic principles when performing your work,” he said. “As a journalist, you work for the people, not for any particular group.”

The problem, he said, is that the ranks of Cambodian journalists need replaced by the young, as older journalists leave the industry. “Journalism is crucial for the democracy of the country,” he said.