Drink coffee. Talk politics. Blog opinions

Debate

ការប្រើប្រាស់បណ្តាញសង្គម ធ្វើឱ្យយើងបង្កើនចំណេះដឹងផ្នែកព័ត៌មាន (#អក្ខរកម្មព័ត៌មាន)

ជម្រាបសួរប្រិយមិត្តកាហ្វេនយោបាយ និង​ជនរួមជាតិជាទីស្រលាញ់រាប់អាន។ សូមស្វាគមន៍មកកាន់វេទិកាតទល់មតិរបស់យើងទាំងអស់គ្នាសាជាថ្មីម្តងទៀត។ បច្ចេកវិទ្យាបានធ្វើឱ្យទំនាក់ទំនងមានភាពងាយស្រួល និងរហ័សទាន់ចិត្ត។ ទន្ទឹមនឹងនេះដែរ  បណ្តាញ​សង្គមបានក្លាយជាផ្នែកមួយដ៏សំខាន់ដែល​ធ្វើឱ្យការ​ទំនាក់ទំនង ទទួល និង​ចែក​រំលែក​ព័ត៌មាន កាន់តែមានងាយ​ស្រួលមួយកម្រិត​ទៀត សម្រាប់​ជីវិត​ប្រចាំថ្ងៃ​របស់​ប្រជាជន​កម្ពុជា ក៏ដូចមនុស្សជុំវិញពិភពលោក។ នាឆ្នាំ២០២២នេះ កម្ពុជាមានអ្នកប្រើប្រាស់អ៊ីនធឺណិតប្រហែល ១៧.៧ លាននាក់ (ម្នាក់​អាច​ប្រើ​ឧបករណ៍​ច្រើនជាងមួយ) នេះបើយោងតាមនិយតករទូរគមនាគមន៍កម្ពុជា។ សម្រាប់​​អ្នក​ប្រើប្រាស់​បណ្តាញសង្គម ចំនួនអ្នកប្រើប្រាស់ហ្វេសប៊ុកនៅប្រទេសកម្ពុជានៅឆ្នាំ២០២២នេះ មាន​១១លាន៦ គណនី ( ម្នាក់​អាច​ប្រើ​​ច្រើនជាងមួយគណនី) យោងតាមរបាយការណ៍របស់ Datareportal។ ចំនួន​អ្នក​ប្រើប្រាស់​TikTokនៅកម្ពុជា មានចំនួន ៦,៦៨លានគណនី (ម្នាក់​អាច​ប្រើ​ច្រើនជាងមួយគណនី)  នៅឆ្នាំ២០២២ (រាប់ចាប់ពីអាយុ១៨ ឆ្នាំ​ឡើង​ទៅ)។ ការសិក្សាស្រាវជ្រាវ (Human-Centred Design Methods) របស់ Sour Mouy​នៅ​ចុង​ឆ្នាំ២០២១​ បានឱ្យដឹងថា យុវជន​ជនបទ​ជា​មធ្យម​ចំណាយ​ពេល​ប្រើប្រាស់​បណ្តាញ​សង្គម​ប្រមាណ​ជា ៤ម៉ោង ៤០នាទី (Facebook: 3h40m; TikTok: 25m; Youtube 25m; Instagram: 20m)។ ដោយមានការសហការជាមួយ​វេទិកាសួរ​មួយ  ដែល​កំពុង​រៀបចំ​យុទ្ធនាការ​អក្ខរកម្ម ឌីជីថល ក្នុង​គោលបំណងបង្កើនសមត្ថភាពការគិតស៊ីជម្រៅ និង​ការកំណត់​​ប្រភព​​ព័ត៌មាន​ដែល​គួរ​ឱ្យ​ទុក​ចិត្ត ដើម្បីធ្វើ​សេចក្តី​​សម្រេច​ចិត្ត​ឱ្យ​បាន​ត្រឹមត្រូវក្នុង​រយៈពេល​វែង។ ដូច្នេះហើយប្រធានបទនៃការ​តទល់​មតិ​លើកនេះគឺ «តើការប្រើប្រាស់បណ្តាញសង្គម ធ្វើឱ្យ​យើង​បង្កើនចំណេះដឹង​ផ្នែ​កព័ត៌មាន (#អក្ខរកម្មព័ត៌មាន) ឬយ៉ាងណា?» យោងតាមអង្គការយូណេស្កូ៖ អក្ខរកម្មព័ត៌មាននិងប្រព័ន្ធ ផ្សព្វផ្សាយ ត្រូវ​បាន​កំណត់​ថា ជា​ចំណេះ​ដឹង និង​ជំនាញ​ដែល​ត្រូវការ​ ដើ​ម្បី​ស្វែងរក​ការ​វិភាគ វាយតម្លៃស៊ីជម្រៅ និង​បង្កើត​ព័ត៌មាន​នៅ​ក្នុង​ប្រព័ន្ធផ្សព្វផ្សាយ និងបរិបទផ្សេងៗ។​​ វាជួយអ្នកប្រើប្រាស់​ឱ្យធ្វើការ ជ្រើស​រើស​ត្រូវ​អំពី​របៀប​ដែលពួកគេចូលរួមក្នុងការកសាងសន្តិភាព សមភាព សេរីភាព​នៃ​ការបញ្ចេញ​មតិ ការសន្ទនា ការទទួលបានព័ត៌មាន និងការអភិវឌ្ឍ​ប្រកប​ដោយ​ចីរភាព។ វេទិកា​តទល់មតិលើកនេះ យើងមាន លោក​ លី ជិងគួយ ខាងមតិស្រប និងកញ្ញា ហេង សុជា​ ខាង​មតិបដិ​សេធ។ ពួកគេ​ម្នាក់ៗ​​ជ្រើសរើស​យកទឡ្ហីករណ៍​ចំនួន៣​​យក​មក​បកស្រាយ។ គោល​បំណង​នៃ​ការតទល់មតិ​នេះ​ គឺដើម្បីលើកកម្ពស់​វប្បធម៌សន្ទនា​ប្រជាធិបតេយ្យ​ក្នុង​ចំណោមយុ​វជននៅកម្ពុជា។ ដោយសារតែអ្នកទាំងអស់គ្នាអាចបោះឆ្នោត​​បានតែម្ដងប៉ុណ្ណោះ ដោយប្រើប្រា​ស់​គណនី​ហ្វេស​ប៊ុក ដូច្នេះ​​សូមអានការដេញដោលមតិនេះឲ្យបានល្អិតល្អន់ជាមុនសិន ​មុន​នឹង​បោះឆ្នោត​​ឱ្យ​បេក្ខជន​របស់​យើង។​ ក្រុមកាហ្វេនយោបាយ​ និង​វេទិកា​សួរមួយ មិនមានសិទ្ធិ និងមិនអាចដឹងបានទេ​ថា អ្នកណា​បាន​បោះឆ្នោត​ឱ្យ​​បេក្ខជន​មួយណា។​ រាល់ការបោះឆ្នោតគឺសម្ងាត់ រយ:ពេលនៃការបោះឆ្នោត​គឺពីរសប្ដាហ៍ ហើយអ្នកដែលទទួលបានភាគរយច្រើនជាង​គេ​គឺជា​អ្នកឈ្នះ។ បងប្អូនប្រិយមិត្តជនរួមជាតិទាំងអស់អាចចូលរួម​បញ្ចេញ​មតិ​យោបល់​ទៅ​លើ​ការដេញ​ដោល​នេះ​នៅ​ខាងក្រោម​បាន!

koffee

Why do youths feel digital training seemingly unnecessary?

Writen by: Kheav Moro Kort, junior digital literacy researcher I had a chance to work as a junior digital literacy researcher for Sour Mouy.  In collaboration with Sidekick, Sour Mouy employed the human-centered approach to research to explore why youths do what they do, seeking the reasons and understanding the emotions behind their action. The study selected samples from the three provinces based on factors, such as early dropout rates, incomes, and large ethnic populations. The findings of the research show that the digital lives of rural youth coming from low-income and education backgrounds are completely drowned in an ocean of pirated and scam-related content preying on their vulnerabilities, emotions, and fears. The digital content they, especially those with less income and education, consumed was almost 100 percent generated for the sole purpose of alluring or soliciting the person to accumulate online traffics such as “Like Farming or Like Harvesting”, as the findings demonstrated. The term Like Farming can be described as a technique in which scammers produce attention-getting posts designed to get many likes and shares. Once a page has reached enough likes to get a decent amount of traffic, it may be stripped of its original content and sold on the black market along with the personal information of followers and users who have engaged (like, react, share, comment) with it. The content served to them through matching algorithms can turn them into unconscious victims or accomplices in a modern generation of internet scams run by our behaviours and emotions. Because humans are emotional beings, often their decisions and actions are driven by their intuition and impulse rather than logic and contemplation. Throughout the interviews with rural youth informants, it comes to light that most of the rural youth are hard struggling with using social media apps and digital devices like smartphones. On top of that, training on how to run smart devices and apps are not seemingly necessary for them, despite their limited education. This shall reflect that digital literacy is being disregarded. The media content from sites or pages they engaged with was published without proper fact-checking mechanisms in place and being disseminated publicly from one to another. In the simplest sense, the contents they get mostly stemming from unreliable sources, unlike contents or information backed up with strong evidence and announced by news media or government agencies. Instead of just reacting and sharing, what rural youth should do is to be more aware of what they are consuming, the potential risks, be more responsible netizens, and more engaged with their own choices. Embracing media/digital literacy and critical thinking for effective use of social media is essential. Ones may know and understand the importance of having strong passwords and turning on the two-step verification process. But as digital illiterate, one may not realize the true nature of the daily contents they are consuming. Some types of content are pirated and scammed. Even if you are tech-savvy, it does not necessarily mean that you are always able to differentiate between fake and real news; therefore, one should equip themselves with media, digital literacy, and critical thinking skills. Media literacy is regarded as an ability to apply critical thinking skills into signs or symbols and messages that are transmitted through media. These essential 21st-century skills allow us to fully understand and evaluate all of the messages we encounter on a daily basis, leading us to make better choices about what we should choose to watch, read, and listen to. Media education navigates us through a complex media landscape to become more discerning, sharp in judgement, and to be thoughtful media consumers and users. Music, videos, TV shows, text messages, social media, online video games, advertising, news, educational contents, radio, newspapers, and other numerous forms of information are also considered media. To critically evaluate and analyse the content published, media literate looks at it from three angles, such as emotional, technical, and cognitive angle. Emotional skills in media literacy are about being aware of your own emotions and how you react towards a certain post. The technical angle here focuses on the state of being aware of how the platform (for example: Facebook, Instagram or Tiktok) works. Whereas cognitive aspects are concerned with the identification of reliable sources on social media; for instance, by analysing the number of followers, likes, published date or the user’s biography, etc. Being able to critically think about social media posts and online stories makes you a smart consumer of those products. The ability to understand how media is constructed and to identify the roles of media play in society, specifically politics, the values embedded and the beneficiaries from pushing those values are such invaluable skills. With skills in hand, time will not be wasted. These skills enable us to pass on the knowledge we have to other people and also to prevent certain media from dominating or exacerbating the society. Constantly and regularly asking yourself about social media posts you consume and engage with (like, share and comment), the nature and the way posts have been created, the motivation or purposes of the producer will somehow guide you to be a well-informed and critical media consumer. The goal of media literacy is not to prevent people from consuming media, but to transform people to become more informed and literate media consumers, helping them from being fall victims or unconscious accomplices of the dark side of social media.  

Politik

Why Should We Normalize Political Discussion?

Written By: Samoeurth Seavmeng, 3rd Generation Leader of Politikoffee Edited by: Heng Kimkong, a Visiting Senior Research Fellow at Cambodia Development Center and a PhD Candidate in Education at The University of Queensland, Australia Photo Credit: Politikoffee Some of us have probably been told by our parents since we were children not to talk about politics. When we go to school, we are prohibited from discussing it with our classmates and teachers. After we graduate and get a job, we might get fired if we discuss politics in the office. For some people, in their entire lives, they might have never experienced talking about politics with their friends or acquaintances. In Cambodia, besides our socially accepted norms portraying politics as neither safe nor useful, our country bans political discussion among students and teachers. The numerous arrests and imprisonment of political activists and former CNRP members have made this practice worse. In this context, I believe the forbiddance and arrests have affected the mindset of every Cambodian citizen. Public discussions on topics such as Cambodian elections, corruption, governance, politics and public service delivery have been conducted by very few organizations in Cambodia for the public to join. When the discussions are conducted, the discussants generally would not dare to get deep into those sensitive issues. Some even censor themselves. These raise a few important questions: Why is talking politics not a habit among many Cambodian people? Why is politics considered a sensitive topic? What are the benefits if we discuss politics? The word discussion means exchanging ideas or views with other people or giving opinions on certain issues. Therefore, a political discussion means exchanging your ideas and opinions about politics. This does not necessarily mean attacking, criticizing or going against any individual or group of people. Having dialogues or discussions about politics with friends does not mean we have to be deeply involved in politics. Beneficially, political discussion helps increase our critical thinking skills and knowledge about our nation’s social and political affairs. It makes us become informed citizens. Once we have the knowledge of those issues and keep ourselves updated about their happenings, we can potentially keep politicians accountable for their actions. The more we know about politicians, the more they become more responsible Some people categorize politicians as “cheaters’’. We might often hear people say, “Politics is Cheating”. That is why people hate politics. Consequently, it makes politics too bad and even unbearable to discuss. Politicians could behave irresponsibly because they probably think we are politically illiterate. We do not have any ideas about what is going on, and especially we do not have an opinion about their actions. Not all politicians are bad, though. Politicians can also do good goods and we have many good politicians as well. For example, the global movement to end discrimination against women and LGTIQ+ people, the legality of same-sex marriages in some countries, and the campaigns to end gender inequality are some good things that politicians have done to make their society and the world a better place. It is important to understand that we all have the power to make them do that if we work together. When we become politically literate, more or less, politicians will become more accountable for their actions. It is because they know we have our eyes on them, and we know what they are up to. When politicians are elected to lead the country, they pledge to serve our national interests, not themselves. They are obliged to make good policies to serve us, address social problems and develop the country sustainably and inclusively. Social problems such as flooding, gang-rapes, traffic jams, unaffordable housing, and high price of petrol are all in the hands of politicians. They have the power to address all these issues. They have the power to influence private companies and other stakeholders to solve all these problems. As stated in the Oxford Handbook of Political Communication “Through political discussions, citizens’ opinions and perspectives are represented in their government, and in turn their government is more responsive to its citizens.” However, if we do not know our country’s political system and governance and policies and priorities of major political parties, it is hard for us to track politicians’ actions and keep them accountable. In contrast, if we know those affairs well and we keep ourselves updated about their actions, politicians will be more careful with every move they make. They are aware that we are checking their election campaign promises. We are informed and responsible citizens. We let them know that we have the power to elect them and we also have the power to vote them out of office. We need to let them know that we care about our country’s affairs just as much as they probably do. Political discussion may also make people become closer with one another and create a culture of sharing knowledge amongst peers with peers, colleagues with colleagues and family members and family members. They will become more understandable, open-minded and tolerant. As a result, it will reduce tension, conflict and misunderstanding. Ultimately, we will create a peaceful society where people do not get angry easily and are willing to have frank discussions to find solutions instead of coloring each other or getting into fights. We will also stop labelling people who do not have the same political beliefs or ideology as our enemies. Moreover, sharing knowledge about sociopolitical issues with colleagues can perhaps make the office environment more enjoyable and less stressful. Together for a politically literate society We are now more informed of what is happening in our country. Nevertheless, when it comes to politics, I believe we are still afraid to discuss it with our friends, colleagues and relatives to avoid “conflict” which potentially harms our friendships, professional networks and family bonds. Want it or not, our daily life cannot be separated from politics, thereby requiring our attention and participation. The importance of political discussion at the workplace:​​ The purpose of discussing politics is not to cause conflicts or misunderstanding. It is to exchange ideas, information and opinions on political issues affecting our country. It is also to ease possible tensions and misunderstanding. Some people working in administration, finance and business, for example, might not keep themselves updated with the country’s status quo. They probably think it is not relevant to their work. However, the issues such as gang-rapes, traffic jams, flooding, unaffordable housing, high price of petrol have significant impacts on their lives. Therefore, having colleagues who are knowledgeable about social and political affairs could help them be informed and take appropriate actions if required. We need a majority of us to voice our concerns, from everyone and from every sector. Once our voices are heard, it is hard for them to ignore. Increasing political literacy in our society: Everyone should be able to talk about politics in public and private places. Those who do not work at offices can discuss with their peers and learn more from better informed friends. This does not necessarily mean we should discuss it all the time. We can do it when it is the right time. For example, we can engage in political discussion when there are concerns about social problems that are left unaddressed by politicians. I believe that when a culture of discussion becomes normal in our society and when everyone is aware of our country’s affairs, politicians cannot escape from their duties. Creating a good habit for the next generation Children impersonate their parents and people around them quickly, and adolescents look up to their seniors and surroundings. Accordingly, if we want the next generation to pay more attention to issues affecting their lives, we need to start normalizing political discussion from now on. Political talks with parents and relatives help to broaden knowledge and increase critical thinking for youth who will obtain crucial knowledge of their country’s affairs and politicians who lead their nation. This makes them familiar with politics and will not get easily influenced by anyone. I believe many young people are told by their parents to vote for a political party, which they probably have no idea what the party’s policy is about. Some do not care and just follow their peers or neighbors when it comes to voting. Our future will become more complicated with the rise of advanced technology, artificial intelligence, vicious diseases and uncontrollable climate change. Hence, we need informed, responsible and politically-minded people who could deal with those issues wholeheartedly. We cannot let private companies create policies for us. Regular political discussion is significant because it will result in better informed citizens who will be able to hold politicians accountable. More importantly, the next generation of Cambodians will become highly innovative politicians and policymakers who will be able to initiate important policies for Cambodia. Thus, normalizing political discussion is extremely crucial for Cambodian society. Not only does it give benefits to the Cambodian citizens to keep politicians accountable, but it could also transform the society to be a politically literate one. Suggestions I believe if we normalize political discussion, it will help improve the current and future landscape of politics in Cambodia. The world is rapidly changing; therefore, we need more innovative politicians and policymakers to enhance Cambodia’s competitiveness on the global stage. Normalizing political discussion is a great start. However, achieving it is not easy and it will take time and commitment. Therefore, in order to create an open political discussion environment in our society, we need active participation from everyone. First, we should try to know more about our duties in participating in politics and civic engagement. We should not consider politics as something only for politicians. Cambodia is our country so it is essential that we contribute to developing and improving it. Second, those who are more knowledgeable of sociopolitical affairs should share with the ones who know less about political issues. They should try to share with other people to make them well-informed of social and political issues impacting the country. Not everyone has the privilege to learn and keep themselves updated with important status quo. This action will also strengthen civic and political engagement of Cambodian citizens. “Sharing is Caring” is not only caring about other people but we care about our country’s affairs as well. Third, young people will inherit everything from the current politicians and leaders. It is crucial for them to participate in their country’s political affairs and development. Youth should start discussing politics more often with peers and do it as much as they can. Once they are able to do it, the next generation will follow suit. Consequently, they will be able to join in directing the country in the way they want it to be. Finally, the Cambodian government plays the most significant role to empower and promote political discussion. It should encourage the citizens to talk more about it rather than prohibit it. When the citizens become political-literate, they will help in providing valuable input that politicians need to lead the country to achieve sustainable development, prosperity and greatness.

Politik

Cambodia Needs a New Political Culture. So, What Should It Be? 

Written by: Han Noy, a 2rd-year student majoring in International Relations at Paññāsāstra University of Cambodia. Edited by: Sao Phal Niseiy, Editor-in-Chief at The Cambodianess and Deputy Editor-in-Chief at Thmey Thmey News Photo Credit:  Happystock/Fotolia Cambodia used to be one of the greatest empires in Asia during its peak from the 11th to 13th century. Its territory roughly covered most of the mainland Southeast Asia countries, including now parts of Vietnam, Thailand and Laos. However, this glorious history did not last long. The power of the Khmer Empire swiftly declined by the 14th century, subsequently leading to endless suffering and the deprivation of sovereignty, territory, and independence since then. Based on our historical records, following the fall of the Angkorean era, the country suffered prolonged civil wars and persistent power struggles among our political elites.  More importantly, after regaining the independence from France in 1953, our people highly anticipated that the nation would have lastly lived in harmony, prosperity and peace under the reign of the late King Father Norodom Sihanouk.  It, however, was just a good dream and hope as the coup staged to depose the prince from power in 1970, led by General Lon Nol and Prince Sisowath Siri Matak, drove Cambodia into the Vietnam War. Five years after the coup, Cambodians ended up witnessing the rise to power of the genocidal Khmer Rouge regime, during which there was widespread starvation and ruthless persecution of almost two million innocent Cambodians. After that, Cambodia could not even realize the perpetual peace as war among different political factions persisted along the Thai border until 1997 when there was a national reconciliation and integration.  Currently, Cambodia has finally attained what we call a negative peace—a condition at which war is absent. However, its political landscape remains very tense, conflictual, and polarized. Therefore, this part brought up a question for Cambodians, should the country seek to adopt a new political culture? I raised this question because the current political culture now is ineffective and obsolete, failing to function and respond to the needs of the public amid the fast-changing world. Therefore, I am writing this article to explain why it is requisite for the country to embrace a new political culture.   What is political culture? The term ‘political culture’ commonly refers to the beliefs and views of people of the country toward the political system. It generally consists of political ideals and operating norms of a political apparatus in a country. So, psychological and subjective dimensions of politics are what political culture is about, and political culture can be shaped by both the collective history of a political system and its members. Jürgen R. Winkler (2020) argues that political culture is ‘the shared views and normative judgments’ of people on the political system. He also highlighted that the notion of political culture is not about discussing how people think of political actors such as a president and prime minister, but it mainly focuses on how they contemplate the political system and its legitimacy. Meanwhile, American political scientist Lucian Pye considers that political culture encompasses fundamental values, feelings and knowledge that guide the political process. On the other hand, the study of political culture has also been circulated widely since the establishment of Western democracy. The first classic study of political culture is on ‘The Civic Culture’(1963) by Gabriel Almond and Sydney Verba, both of whom are American political scientists. Almond and Verba explicitly categorized political culture into three pure types such as parochial, subject and participant. In a parochial political culture, people are not allowed to do anything, and they know only about the existence of a central government. Regarding the subject of political culture, citizens are aware of themselves not just as participants but also as a subject of the government. Meanwhile, in the participant political culture, people hold the belief that there is an interconnection between them and the system in which the system can impact them while they also can contribute to it.  In a nutshell, political culture is mainly about the beliefs, opinions and feelings--all of which can shape the political process of a country. Moreover, it also manifests why and how leaders and policymakers behave toward any issues facing them. Proposed new political culture for contemporary Cambodia  Despite our country suffering much in its dark history, we continue to go through a lot of struggles due to the political culture our politicians have chosen to take on. In an exclusive interview with Khmer Times, Preap Kol, former executive director of Transparency International Cambodia, pointed out that our current political culture is risky and could lead to national disunity as it involves making baseless accusations, which he labeled as “coloring culture.”  I concur with what he raised. Also, I recognize that our country is surely in much need of a new political culture. So, in the next part, I am offering some perspectives of the new version of political culture, which I believe fits our current national context.   First, the cultural dialogue needs to be fully espoused by our political elites as it is very essential in contributing to national development​. It is because it allows all parties to put national interests and survival before their interests. Besides, the culture of dialogue helps strengthen the cooperation and promotes national unity among Cambodian citizens in general and political elites in particular. For instance, Cambodian politicians chose to embrace the political dialogue in 2015 following the years-long political deadlock resulting from the controversial election in 2013. During that time, the political atmosphere appeared to be hassle-free. And more importantly, many members of the opposition party were freed from jail. Therefore, we will be able to end and prevent any conflicts and distrust among ourselves by fully adopting the culture of dialogue. It, of course, should be considered as the best option for our new political culture. Second, our country should also seek to build a culture of inclusive political institutions. A nation collapsing or thriving mainly depends on the strength of political institutions. When a country allows the client politics and patronage system to take root, rampant corruption, injustice and struggle for power will continue to subsist, leading to poor governance. Any modern governing system should be constructed on a merit-based system that is full of competent technocrats, not based on political connections.  Furthermore, clientelism will only undermine good democratic practice. It happens since some democratic components such as accountability and transparency will be hindered, while powerful and wealthy people will just use their wealth to buy ballots as they seek to protect their interests while ignoring the interests of the public. Hence, building and fostering the culture of inclusive political institutions are significant for the country's success. As Acemoglu and Robinson single out in their book titled “Why Nations Fail”, the key determinant of why some nations are rich and others are poor is the selection of two types of political institutions, namely inclusive and extractive institutions. Therefore, the institutions we choose will determine the future of our nation.  In conclusion, political culture is indeed our views, beliefs and perceptions towards our political system. More importantly, it also shapes our political behavior because it maps out how people should interact with the government and involve themselves with political affairs.  In the Cambodian context, our political culture is already obsolete, meaning we need to create a new framework of political culture that can guarantee a better future for our nation. As I already suggested earlier, instigating cultural dialogue and erecting inclusive political institutions will be the key to our well-off national development.  However, to make it a reality, all stakeholders should work together to promote the new concept of political culture through mobilizing different approaches. I believe that this new political culture could be made known to the public through education programs, public events and the commemoration of historical events. Once these efforts are made, the spirit of our new political culture will be ultimately attained.  

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Koffee

If Noting Else, Stop Lecturing Youth from Consuming Entertainment Content

Writren by: Leng Hywfi, Sour Mouy Digital Media Campaign Coordinator Photo Credit: American Corner Cambodia - UME, Kampong Cham Intuitively, digital natives who have grown up under the influence of the internet and modern ICT know how to use technology, digital devices, and social media, so they don’t feel the need for digital education or training. It resonates with Sour Mouy’s human center research design in late 2021 when our researchers said both urban and rural youths if they need digital and social media training. None of them said they need. However, young people (digital natives) are not inherently equipped with the skills for safe and effective use of technologies and social media yet. They have actually acquired those technological skills informally because they have spent time exploring and playing with those technologies. They are likely to be incomplete, and not critical enough when it comes to communicating substances via social media. The failure to offer youth digital literacy and critical thinking skills in using technologies and social media would put them into risky positions and create a new digital divide between digital lifestyle skills and digital workplace skills. In the digital era, we know that the traditional forms of entertainment and other social activities have been physically reduced but technologically integrated and found on social media. The digital natives have experienced lesser physical engagements as they start virtually socializing and accessing those online entertaining programs. With increased accessibility to smartphones and internet connections, youth have spent more time on social media. Sour Mouy’s human center research design found that provincial youth (with at least grade 12 education) and Phnom Penh youth (students) spend an average of 3 hours and 30 minutes per day on social media. While rural youth with lower education and income spend an average of 4 hours and 40 minutes per day on social media. Their popular content includes short video clips of TV shows, dramas, comedy, and posting photo stories whose content triggers specific emotions related to heartache, family obligation, being poor and rejected or disconnected, low self-esteemed, lonely, ashamed, self-pity, love-seeking, etc. Are we expected them to be consuming educational and informative content while they need online entertaining content given that physical options are not available, and being less connected with their peers or childhood friends? I believe that issue is not about being pessimistic or disappointed about them consuming overly entertaining content, but rather giving them options in terms of content and motivations to move out of the content which is algorithmically set. I personally believe that the solution is not to keep complaining about them not consuming informative and useful content you want them to do, but to socialize them to access to other content that helps them aware of online risks and security and improves their critical thinking skills. Based on a series of roundtable discussions Sour Mouy conducted with youth in Siem Reap, Kampong Cham, and Phnom Penh in July 2022, we suggested several options to engage those youth: Providing new educational and useful content options (not what algorism gives them): campaigners can break the silo by introducing educational and thoughtful content in social media through community influencers who they know and follow to provide them with regular entertaining content by gradually changing to the infotainment, self-help tips, skills, and knowledge that they can benefit from social media. Using social media to create skills: since the first thing most of us do just after waking up is to check our social media so why don’t we try to make social media a school? Those who need to have skills such as cooking, basic construction work, planting or animal raising, etc to promote livelihoods can use social media as a place for such information and knowledge enrichment. For instance, a husband of Sour Mouy’s informant in Ratanakiri has become a recognized skilled construction worker in his community when he keeps watching YouTube videos on construction work. The campaign to showcase such real examples of rural youth who has changed their life after using social media as a school is paramount. To be critical is an easier said than done phrase. We don’t lecture them with our scripted lines, but we post thought-provoking questions related to their current situations and invite them to think, reflect and compare what they know and experience with what the social media stars are speaking about. Critical thinking is inculcated when people are open to sharing opinions and listening to others and various sources of information. Having too much information on social media creates confusion, so there should be online content on how to create discipline, clarity, and a positive mindset. Yuval Noah Harari says, “in a world deluged by irrelevant information, clarity is power.” For the rural youth, we have talked with, having clarity in mind is very hard since they have a limited base of critical thinking or cross-checking. However, clarification can be done via giving a short pause and thinking, checking the sources, and being less reactive to social media trends in terms of sharing and commenting. Youth should also be informed about digital well-being on their smartphones. Being completely disconnected from social media is not easy and healthy either because it is like we are disconnected from a society already. However, setting time limitations to ensure health, effective and quality time on social media would help especially when they are hectic with their studies or other family commitments.      

សិទ្ធិសេរីភាពក្នុងការបញ្ចេញមតិរបស់ពលរដ្ឋក្នុងបទដ្ឋានសង្គមលទ្ធិប្រជាធិបតេយ្យ

ពេលនេះជាពេលវេលាក្នុងការលុបបំបាត់អំពើហិង្សាក្នុងគ្រួសារ

ហេតុអ្វីយុវជនសតវត្សរ៍ទី២១នៅតែភ័យខ្លាចក្នុងការចូលរួមក្នុងនយោបាយ?

អត្ថបទទស្សន:៖ តើគេត្រូវធ្វើដូចម្ដេចទើបអនុវត្តសេរីភាពបញ្ចេញមតិបានពេញលេញនិងស្របច្បាប់?

Podcast

‘I used to talk about politics on Facebook, but now it’s scary’

By Adam Bemma, Alijazeera 23 Aug 2018 Phnom Penh, Cambodia – Samoeurth Seavmeng sits at a conference table wearing black horn-rimmed glasses. Meng – as she’s known online and to friends – glances at her smartphone and begins to speak to 10 other young Cambodians gathered at Politikoffee, a weekly forum held in a leafy diplomatic enclave of the capital Phnom Penh. “It’s very hard to talk about social media. Sometimes people post fake news on Facebook and sometimes people post true news, so it has advantages and disadvantages,” the 22-year-old activist said. Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen often alleges “fake news” to discredit criticism of his ruling Cambodia People’s Party online. He has even threatened that authorities have the technology to track and arrest a Facebook user within six minutes of a post. This has sent a wave of fear and intimidation through Cambodia’s public sphere, where once critical voices have begun to self-censor. Politikoffee is an offline space where Cambodians feel free to debate and voice dissenting views without fear of arrest.  “Before, I used to share and talk a lot about political and social issues on Facebook, but now it’s a little bit scary to talk about these sensitive issues because I’m afraid I’m going to get in trouble,” Meng said. Internet censorship Cambodia’s government monitors social media. Last May, Cambodia’s Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications, Ministry of Interior and Ministry of Information, issued a regulation to monitor Facebook. The government stated that it wants to control information that is deemed to “threaten the defence and security of the nation, relations with other countries, the economy, public order, and discriminates against the country’s customs and traditions.” The Cambodia Center for Independent Media stated in its 2017 report that seven Facebook users were either arrested or sought by authorities for sharing information and opinions on the social media platform. In 2018, an election year, the number is unknown. “The directive was actually released after they were already identifying, monitoring, charging and imprisoning people,” said Naly Pilorge, director at LICADHO, a human rights monitoring group in Cambodia. During the election in July, 17 news websites – including RFA, VOA and Cambodia Daily (already closed down in 2017) – were ordered offline for 48 hours. Critics believe internet censorship is intended to stop outlawed Cambodia National Rescue Party supporters inside the country from sharing, liking or commenting on election boycott campaigns. “The directive came afterwards to legalise what they were doing in practice already. And it changed the habits of the average [social media] user,” Pilorge added. “The people online that we interact with, we see that there are differences. Definitely people are afraid, hesitant, paralysed. Ourselves included. We’re cautious.” In the lead-up to this year’s election, all independent media was shut down. The main opposition leader was jailed for alleged treason. Two former Radio Free Asia reporters and an Australian filmmaker were jailed for alleged espionage. Several human rights and political activists languish inside Cambodia’s prisons – guilty until proven innocent according to LICADHO. “What you’ve seen over the past year and a half is, for example, a minister or the prime minister decides a post is critical or is unacceptable and will immediately denounce a Facebook post,” Pilorge said. “Within 48 hours this individual is being arrested, charged, imprisoned in pre-trial detention and sometimes convicted.” Increasing regulation  Though the election is over, censorship online is prevalent. Prime Minister Hun Sen was re-elected last month in a vote criticised by the UN as fundamentally flawed. “If the situation for freedom of expression worsens, maybe we will have something that we can do together in order to inform [Cambodians] which tool or application they can use without getting into any trouble,” Meng said. Cambodian digital security trainer Moses Ngeth teaches journalists, activists and human rights campaigners how to secure accounts, and protect data online.  “I train them how to do very basic device security for smartphones, password protection. I tell them to be careful when posting something to social media and not to share any personal information,” he said.  Ngeth believes this new mandate will give the ruling CPP legitimacy to pass its much-anticipated draft cybercrime law. “People cannot talk on the radio, or on television. It leaves only Facebook. That’s why they increased regulation of social media,” Ngeth said. Cambodians can still be arrested, charged, jailed or fined for Facebook posts under criminal defamation, royal defamation laws, or incitement. “I think it’s natural to have fear, but when I see someone is arrested for saying something on social media I don’t feel comfortable. I think that people should feel free to express themselves,” said Kounila Keo, a Cambodian blogger and communications consultant. Prime Minister Hun Sen has amassed over 10 million followers on Facebook. Sam Rainsy, the exiled former CNRP leader who ran in the 2013 elections, claims that many are not even Cambodian and may be fake online profiles generated abroad – an accusation the prime minister refutes. “What [the prime minister] said … ‘When you post, I can know the location’ – it’s one of the funniest things I’ve heard from him,” Ngeth said. “Using Facebook to know the location, it’s not possible,” Ngeth said. Prime Minister Hun Sen and members of the CPP are using Facebook to bypass traditional news media such as newspapers, radio and television, viewed as hostile to the government, to reach Cambodians directly with their messages. “The prime minister and other public figures campaign on Facebook,” said Ngeth. We're not doing anything to harm society. We're doing it to make society a better place, especially for youth to be able to share ideas and contribute. SAMOEURTH SEAVMENG, KNOWN AS MENG, ACTIVIST Back at the Politikoffee debate, the upcoming cybercrime law is considered for discussion in a future forum. Meng wants members to be able to communicate online without being punished for spreading “fake news” for commenting on the draft law. “Now we’re thinking about [developing] a new tool, or a new kind of app, that we can be sure will be safe for us to talk about any issue because we mostly discuss politics,” Meng said. “We’re not doing anything to harm society. We’re doing it to make society a better place, especially [for] youth to be able to share ideas and contribute.” Original Link: https://www.aljazeera.com/features/2018/8/23/i-used-to-talk-about-politics-on-facebook-but-now-its-scary

ក្រុម​កាហ្វេ​នយោបាយ​បើក​គេហទំព័រ​ឲ្យ​យុវជន​សរសេរ​បញ្ចេញ​មតិ​ដោយ​សេរី

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