Mass media in Cambodia- observations 

     

A few days ago one of the other volunteers I work with had a game idea to use during one of our English classes at the NFO center. We needed to get a newspaper to be able to play the game. We asked some of the kids at the center but they only knew about one place in the entire town where we could buy a newspaper. We also asked the family that lives at the center and they didn’t own any old newspapers. After looking for it for a few days we finally gave up and decided to play another game. However, the thought of not being able to find a newspaper anywhere was a bit startling to me. I’ve noticed that in the capital it’s easier to find newspapers, but mostly the English language ones, I haven’t seen a Khmer newspaper yet. 
When I did my research before coming to Cambodia, I found out that it wasn’t until the Khmer Rouge trials in the early 2000s that Cambodians started to see television as a medium to get news and information. What I’ve noticed here is that they utilize television mainly as a form of entertainment. During dinner they would just turn the tv and watch funny shows or reality tv shows such as the Voice Cambodia or others similar to this. I have cable in my room but I haven’t been able to find a Cambodian news show, mainly all I watch to get my news is the BBC or CNN. On a side not, we actually visited a television station (Cambodian Television Network) while we were in Pnhom Penh and watched a Khmer kickboxing match. It was a very interesting experience and it was pretty great to see how things run at a national TV station. 
  
  
Facebook is very popular here, most everyone will ask for your Facebook name instead of number or email. Especially younger people are very active on social media and post regularly on their accounts. There are a lot of free WiFi spots in Takeo and the Internet is pretty fast and reliable. Therefore, a lot of people buy a cheap data plan for their phones and connect online at these wifi spots. This is of course in the central areas, however once you get to the villages where we work there’s no internet and electricity can be very expensive. 
Part of my job with NFO is to try to bring more volunteers and promote awareness of our organization, I’m doing this through social media. By promoting and showcasing what NFO is doing in the communities, past volunteers can stay up to date and share the news with new volunteers. I’ve found it very easy to connect to the Internet while I’m in town, which was very surprising to me. I’ve already launched two social media campaigns for NFO. The first one is #whyivolunteer campaign where we ask volunteers to share about their experience with the organization. Every week I post a photo and a testimonial on our social media accounts. The second campaign is #meetourteachers campaign, where we highlight the reasons why our teachers work for the organization. There are 9 Khmer teachers working for the organization, my plan is to share two posts a week. 

Make sure to follow New Futures Organisation on FB, Instagram and Twitter 🙂

Patricia Chourio.

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