Cheng Chomneth Matthay 2017Cheng Chomneth Mathay is a past pupil of the Don Bosco Social Communication Project of Kep Province, Cambodia and now a cameraman for TV5 Channel, working to be a reporter. As a Catholic, he represented Cambodia and the Don Bosco Social Communication & Journalism Program at Signis Catholic Journalists Meeting in Kuala Lumpur, 10-11 March 2017, Communicating Hope & Trust in Our Time.

Kuala Lumpur, MALAYSIA — As a young journalist in Cambodia, my dream is to do the best for the development of my Cambodian people. What people expect from me and from the Media for the Cambodia of our time? It is a big question that we must keep in mind when we work reporting news and information.

Catholic Asian Journalists SIGNIS in Malaysia March 2017
Journalist representatives of 13 Asian countries at the SIGNIS meeting for Catholic Journalists in March 2017 in Kuala Lumpur.

The opportunity to meet other 18 journalists from 13 Asian countries in Kuala Lumpur invited by SIGNIS Journalism Desk (SIGNIS Asia) was a good experience to feel that we are not alone in the experience. One challenge for our time is the spread of misleading information and fake news. It is a reality that affects most countries of our modern time and it reduces hope and trust in the Media. The special guest was Mr Alan John, the director of Asian Journalism Fellowship Program in Singapore and former Deputy Editor of The Straits Times Singapore until 2015. He shared his point on “Fake News and Post Truth”.

It is important our commitment not to spread fake information in the realities of our countries, especially there where political and social situations could be complex. Media is challenged by the growing influence of social networks and the spread of misinformation is more powerful now than before. Definitively, people should be also ready to face fake news on the Media, especially if it is control by certain powerful interests, but those social media users can get formation in how to use it and how to respect certain boundaries of trustful information. As we have norms and rules for the road traffic, it is necessary that we know also the rules to guarantee a trustful information that communicates also hope.

As a social communication past pupil now working on the Cambodian media, I feel committed to share with my fellow juniors these experiences in order to form the future of our country. As Pope Francis says in his message for the 51st World Communication Day, life is not just a succession of events, but a history: “Everything depends on the way we look things, on the lens we use to view them.” (Pope Francis, “Fear no, for I am with you” – Is 43:5 – Communicating Hope and Trust in our Time.)