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At the End of 2010

By: Norbert Klein Posted: January-04-2011 in
Norbert Klein

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 697

Looking back on a year of The Mirror, we have, first of all, to point to the fact that it marks an important change in its format, even more incisive than the changes from 2006 to 2007, when the weekly publications on paper, also available by e-mail delivery, of The Mirror in English and of the Khmer language version, the Kanhchok Sangkum, had to be discontinued. The weekly version in Khmer went to about 2,000 readers in the provinces, where there were hardly any newspapers available; the latter point was a most regrettable change caused by the withdrawal of financial resources.

Starting with January 2007, The Mirror continued to provide translations from Khmer newspapers from Monday to Saturday, accompanied by general reflections on Sundays – but all this only on the Internet. The fact that we had up to 10,000 visits per months to The Mirror site on the Internet seemed to indicate that this publication found a good number of interested readers.

But with the end of August 2010, again financial reasons required to make another painful change: we had to discontinue to provide daily English translations from the Khmer press. This is an important change: the former main volume of material – translations – is no more. However, feedback received over the years related to the Sunday editorials indicated that there would still be interest in regular reports and comments from Cambodia, continuing to cover the dynamics in Cambodian society, often also considering their international context.

So the Mirror continues since September 2010 – though no longer carrying translations from the Khmer language press. Of course the press is still among the important media, but apart from the traditional print and electronic media of radio and TV, on-line media have gained an increasing role also in Cambodia. Their characteristic, to combine communication streams unilaterally distributed – one-to-many – with the possibility of interactive dialogue – many-to-many: responding to a news stream, and responding to responses – opens up possibilities for public dialogue and debate in ways unthinkable a couple of years ago. We will continue to make efforts to share background information to further clarify the context of some items dealt with.

The new technologies provide possibilities to exchange information and express opinions – but these new freedoms have opened also new possibilities for criminal fraud, for confusion, as well as for efforts to control the free flow of information. The traditional media have enjoyed different degrees of freedom and regulation in different societies, and this becomes now true also for the new, interactive media. How the necessary balance between absolute freedom and absolute control will develop, depends also on the way in which the public is putting a claim on the use of these new communication tools – not only to distribute information, but also to engage in handling it interactively by commenting and by responding, reaching out towards creating social dialogue.

Or, to use the words of an established blogger in Cambodia, who described her goal as “to get my opinions heard by all the people, especially Cambodians. Then, we will discuss and find a way out to help Cambodia, and also people outside Cambodia will have a chance to see Cambodia from afar.” She has recently joined to participate in the shaping of The Mirror.

We provide the facilities of inviting Comments from our readers at the end of every posting. And we invite our readers to look also at these Comments – and sometimes also to comment further on the already published Comments. We hope this will lead towards a wider participation in publicly discussing ways out of problems, and ahead into the future.

Norbert KLEIN

This article was first published by The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 697 – Friday, 31.12.2010
Have a look at the last editorial - you can access it directly from the main page of The Mirror.

Norbert Klein is the Editor of The Mirror – The Mirror is a daily comprehensive summary and translation of the major Khmer language press - More about The Mirror


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