SIDO Cambodia
Flood and Disaster Program
Health Program
Environment Program
Education Program
Agriculture Program
Human Right Program
Eco-tourism Program
Mass Media Program
Legal and Judicial Program
Business Development Program
Rural Development Program
Industry Program
Art and Culture Program
Banking and Micro-finance
Mass Media Program

Health Journalism
Environmental Journalism
Humanitarian Media
Women and Media
Information and Communication Technologies
Governance and Transparency


                       Man on a satellite tower                   

Principle Issues

Health Journalism

Almost countries around the globe, public health policies and health- related attitudes and behavior are greatly influenced by local media coverage. Yet the state of health journalism in many countries remains poor due to lack of resources, the low priority given to health coverage by media outlets, lack of quality training for media professionals, and limited access to reliable information, among other obstacles. SIDO Cambodia helps to improve the frequency and quality of media reporting and programming on HIV/AIDS, malaria, avian flu, and other critical health issues around its target locations and target countries where SIDO works. Using a journalist-to-journalist peer approach to training and capacity-building, SIDO provides support to journalists and engages with media managers to improve coverage of health issues.

As a remarkable notice and its work- years both through its partners and its direct work, SIDO has trained and intensively mentored over health journalists.  Representatives from non-governmental, community-based and PLHIV organizations have participated in practical media liaison training, and editors, media managers, journalists and others have joined topical roundtables on HIV/AIDS and other health issues.

Improving Reporting About HIV/AIDS Worldwide

The Local Voices including minority project in each country, with support from the charitable families and SIDO sources, to train and support local radio journalists, talk show hosts and  to improve their reporting and programming on issues related to HIV/ AIDS. SIDO has also conducted support activities for improved HIV/AIDS coverage in Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, and Laos, in collaboration with our partners.

In addition to supporting journalists, SIDO has convened media managers in its target areas, and Local Voices project sites to increase and improve media programming on HIV/AIDS. As a result, media outlets have increased air time and print space to the issue and have begun to use more accurate and less stigmatizing language on HIV/AIDS.

In collaboration with our partners on HIV/ AIDS (UNAIDS), SIDO has also convened some media leaders to foster a commitment to better coverage of HIV/ AIDS in the media in its regional work.

Analyzing Media Coverage of HIV/AIDS

Stigma and discrimination associated with HIV and AIDS often pose challenges for journalists covering the experiences of people living with the virus. In some places it is often difficult for people living with HIV and AIDS (PLHIV) to receive accurate information in the media about HIV such as access to treatment and support.

SIDO Local Voices project, in collaboration with our partners that analyzes responses from people living with HIV and frontline AIDS care and service providers  from each country who were asked their views on local news coverage on  HIV/AIDS.

Most of respondents from two online surveys, focus groups in three countries, and several interviews said that although reporting on HIV/AIDS  has improved somewhat over the last five to ten years, the quality of  media coverage in their countries is still mainly infrequent and inaccurate.

The report, “Voice and Visibility: Frontline perspectives on how the news media reports on HIV/AIDS,” contributes to Local Voices project planning, serves as  a resource for individuals or organizations interested in PLHIV  views about the media and will contribute to handbooks, toolkits  and other materials to provide PLHIV with guidance on how to  interact best with the media.

Training Journalists to Cover Avian Flu Effectively

Local media play a critical role in influencing the response of governments and public attitudes towards a possible pandemic. Accurate and informative reporting that focuses on solutions can help forestall confusion, mistrust, and even panic.

As concerns about avian flu grew, SIDO conducted needs assessments to better understand the constraints local journalists face when reporting on avian influenza.

To support journalists in their coverage of bird flu, SIDO developed a journalism training program, to improve the technical skills needed to cover this complex and rapidly developing story. The program also trained journalists on safety precautions needed when covering “bird flu,” and provided access to accurate, up-to-date information in local languages.
  Journalist interviews a vendor in a poultry market.

More Information on Health Journalism Programs - Multimedia

Environmental Journalism
The planet’s environmental future will be decided in the developing world. Home to four-fifths of the world’s population, the world’s fastest growing economies, and the richest remaining pockets of biodiversity, these countries will ultimately determine how drastically our climate changes, how many species go extinct, and to what extent our food chain becomes contaminated.

The local media play a critical role in influencing how governments and societies balance growth with sustainability. Unfortunately, environmental news is given short shrift almost everywhere, particularly in Cambodia, Vietnam and Lao PDR, where reporters are often assigned to cover this field without any training in environmental or scientific issues. They also face tremendous pressures from powerful local interests, the advertisers who support their companies, and even their own editors.

                                                        Two men ride on an elephant in a river. 

SIDO seeks to empower and enable journalists to cover the environment more effectively. By working with journalists, SIDO aims to improve access to quality environmental news and information and engage more voices in environmental policy dialogue on regional and national scale.

Current and Future Plans: Cambodia, Vietnam and Lao PDR

SIDO will keep continuing to build the capacity of environmental journalists in the lower Mekong region. In collaboration with our media NGO partners, with hoping to have been carried out journalism training workshops that focused on biodiversity and related subjects, including conservation policies and sustainable livelihoods, resulted in the downsizing and review of an "eco-tourism" project slated for the area.

In Cambodia, SIDO will team up with the Royal University of Phnom Penh to produce a similar workshop that brought a group of journalists to Kirirom National Park and instructed them in specialized techniques to cover the environment. SIDO will support a media workshop in Laos that focused on good governance and its relationship to the environment.

Over the coming year, SIDO hopes the fellowships will be awarded to journalists participating in the Vietnam, Lao PDR and Cambodia workshops. SIDO is happy to support academics are carrying out baseline studies on the current level of environmental journalism in Vietnam, Lao PDR and Cambodia. A regional conference will bring together journalists from Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and other countries for discussions on how they can cooperate and improve the quantity and quality of environmental coverage in the region.

Regional Asia and the Mekong Delta
SIDO will bring together five of the leading environmental journalists from around the region for an intense and frank discussion on how to improve the field. Representing journalism networks from China, India, Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam, the group identified numerous obstacles to overcome and several strategies to be pursued, including capacity building through workshops and the training of trainers, regional and local fellowships that would support coverage of key stories, and co-production work that would appear in local media and also on the web. Ultimately, the participants need to agree to work together to advance environmental journalism in Asia, beginning with plans to collaborate in the coverage of some key trans-boundary issues.

SIDO hopes to organize a month-long journalism workshop that focused on environmental issues surrounding the Mekong River. The course will be brought together journalists from Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, and Burma and is particularly noteworthy for the inclusion of three journalists selected from China, which has built a series of dams on its portion of the river that is now having serious impacts downstream.

Humanitarian Media
When disaster strikes a community, timely and accurate information is as essential as food, shelter, sanitation, and security. Local media can play a vital role in ensuring the effective delivery of life-saving assistance. Even more importantly, local media can keep affected populations informed and facilitate their involvement in their own recovery.

SIDO enables local media to provide essential information during humanitarian disasters such as flood and drought, storming and typhoon, and disaster issues. SIDO will cooperate and coordinate with radio and TV stations where none exist, provides essential equipment to damaged stations, trains local journalists and airs important news of relief and reconstruction to the affected populations.

Women and Media
Issues of vital concern to women—child marriages in Cambodia, Vietnam and Lao PDR the trafficking of women in Asia, are often ignored or covered only superficially by the media in their own countries. Also across the globe, women journalists and media professionals work, many times under difficult circumstances, to bring light to the issues that affect all women. SIDO media program aims not only to open eyes to gender issues, but also to give voice to women so that they can change their lives for the better.


Mainstreaming Women’s Issues
To ensure that the media meet the needs of all media consumers, SIDO works to foster women’s leadership in the media industry so that issues of vital concern to women are “mainstreamed,” integrated across all programming and not relegated to a niche market.

In communities where specific gender issues are underreported, such as gender-based violence or women’s health, SIDO and its partners have developed special programs produced by and for women. SIDO’ work with women has involved training women media professionals, fostering their leadership skills, and programming involving women’s issues in Cambodia, Vietnam and Lao PDR.

Training Women Media Professionals
SIDO is hoping the leading international trainer of female media professionals, providing media training to women in out target countries for the coming years. SIDO helps women get on the air and in the newsrooms in societies where their participation has been marginalized, allowing for reporting on all issues—not just women’s issues—to be done through the voices of women in that society.

Addressing Gender-Based Violence
Many women who have survived the genocide and accompanying sexual violence in experience trauma was  so profound that grief turns to aggression. Desperate family members in the society have been known to leave these women tied up in their tents because of their unpredictable and sometimes violent behavior.

To help these and other women from this issue, the local SIDO partners reporting team is producing its talk show (She Speaks, She Listens), which is the community’s first radio program intended for victim and affected female. Topics include mental health services available to women, the role of men in sensitization campaigns on gender-based violence, and services available to teen mothers, some of whom are raising children resulting from rape or forced marriage. Another program topic of unique importance in the target communities is the risks and fears around collecting firewood—when girls and women leave the village to collect wood for their cooking fires, they are sometimes threatened, injured or raped.

SIDO Network’s Humanitarian Information Service airs on its network partners of community radio stations for the local population. This network now reaches more than half to our target location.

Gender Issues and Women Working for Peace
In Cambodia, Vietnam and Lao PDR almost the same within this region, SIDO will form a weekly language TV magazine that brings citizens of the region news and features about their neighbors in the voice of local journalists rather than filtered through national broadcasters. On each weekly program, It will covers gender issues ranging from legislation on gender equality and domestic violence to reproductive health and education for young women. Each month the program features a woman leader who is working to reduce conflict and promote reconciliation in the tense region. SIDO and Local NGO partners, communities work together to produce these programs, which is broadcast in all three countries.

Programming on Gender Issues
SIDO has created a range of programming that tackles sensitive subjects of particular concern to women. A few examples:

  • For the first time in Cambodia, a radio program is presenting the lives of ordinary women, told in their own voices. Called “Mix Voice of Minorities” the series has been broadcast in most major cities and population. The project was implemented by our partners, a media development NGO and private media that SIDO helped create and work with.
  • Pregnancy and childbirth. A weekly radio show for public who have lived in remote rural areas, To Your Health, covered the medical consequences of complications during pregnancy and childbirth. Following the program, there was a marked increase in the number of vulnerable women coming to commune and district health centre and clinics for prenatal counseling and to give birth, resulting in fewer complications, and consequently healthier women and babies in the communities.
  • Women and HIV/AIDS. SIDO’ Local Voices program which trains radio professionals how to cover HIV/AIDS effectively, ensures that journalists pay particular attention to the ways that HIV/AIDS affects women. As a result, radio stations have covered underreported stories such as the plight of widows who have lost their land after losing their husbands to AIDS, or the dangerous spread of HIV from taxi drivers to young girls where the drivers often give schoolgirls free rides in exchange for sex. Local Voices has also been instrumental in mentoring promising female radio journalists and helping them to advance professionally.
  • Domestic violence and women’s rights. SIDO organized an unusual training and production project, “Because I’m a Woman,” that trained television journalists in how to cover women’s issues effectively and responsibly. Selected participants then went on to produce short films on violations of women’s rights in their towns, such as the problem of battered women. Regional TV stations then aired these programs as part of call-in or talk shows, to provoke discussion in their communities.

Information & Communication Technologies
Access to information is fundamental to empowerment. Recognizing the impact of increasing digital convergence, SIDO expanded the scope of its work from supporting independent media to ensuring people’s access to information through whatever technological means they choose. When a piece of news can reach someone as easily via a TV news program, an Internet blog posting, or a text message on their mobile phone, the message transcends the medium. Access is a key to the free flow of news and information. Through a myriad of projects, working with national governments and key stakeholders, SIDO is creating an enabling environment for an affordable and user-controlled Internet in countries as diverse as Cambodia, Vietnam and Lao PDR. SIDO is also designing an ambitious program to bring cheap, high-speed Internet to our target locations. In addition, the organization currently has projects promoting e-government, increasing transparency by getting government information and services online. Getting people within SIDO areas of work and also around the world connected to the information they need enables them to take charge of their lives and to participate fully in the global society.

Working for an Affordable and Democratic Internet
SIDO works to make the Internet accessible to people in our target countries. We partnered with anyone whom had the same interests which has worked to promote an open, democratic, user- controlled Internet. Some future highlights of SIDO’ Internet work:

Study Tour on Internet Policy - Between provinces and countries to meet with public and private stakeholders in Internet policy so they could share experiences and discuss best practices. The event focused on promoting national standards in the fight against cyber- terrorism and other information security issues. SIDO and its partners will develop a universal access strategy which was adopted by each government. This strategy assures all inhabitants of each country access to a telecommunication service package, which includes free connection to emergency services, telephone communication, and access to the Internet.

Internet Reform - In association with each country, SIDO ran a 10-year process to assist in reforming community’s Internet policies. The project will be established a process for each government and the private sector to decide jointly what policy reforms were needed to expand Internet access and use. One unexpected outcome of this project: SIDO staff will work with the target communities to develop an Internet merit badge, believed to be the first such badge adopted by any national scouting organization.

Pushing for Fast Internet - Under a research grant, SIDO is investigating the feasibility of economically providing very high bandwidth connectivity to the research and education communities of a few key communities, starting in each country. By developing the Internet competency of the scientific, medical, and academic communities there, and linking them with counterparts in the United States, the aim is to spur provision of fast and inexpensive Internet across Cambodia, Vietnam and Lao PDR.

Promoting Transparency through e-Government
According to the research and with the rise of information technologies, there has been increasing focus on e-government—putting government services and information online—for both developed and developing countries. Facing pressure from outside donors to reduce corruption, and motivated to cut costs while promoting citizen participation, even some of the least developed nations of the world are beginning to explore e-government.

To guide countries through the complex process of implementing e-government solutions, SIDO is developing a comprehensive knowledge map and “toolkit” with global best practices and case studies on e-government. Available online, the information includes training materials on e-government and even software code for particular e-government applications.

Some of the most popular e-government services are tax reporting and collection; licensing, certificates, and permits; procurement of goods and services; public health and safety programs; and election registration and voting. The knowledge map and toolkit includes detailed recommendations and examples of these and many other applications.

Using Information Technology to Foster Independent Media
Besides promoting open Internet and telecom policy, SIDO uses information and communications technologies (ICTs) in innovative ways to strengthen local, independent media. Traveling for training is often difficult for journalists due to the expense and the difficulty of replacing absent employees. SIDO is planning to have implemented distance learning programs to raise the professional standards of journalists in a cost-effective and accessible way. Using software developed by SIDO, online news sites in each country give media outlets and alternative source of news while building professional connections among regions. Recognizing that the Internet offers greater editorial freedom and the ability to publish breaking news, most leading newspapers and beyond have launched web editions. SIDO will have provided training in online journalism in Cambodia, Vietnam and Lao PDR. This training, which includes web design and Internet skills, helps to provide media professionals with the tools they need to develop alternative news outlets.

Governance and Transparency
Media play a critical role in fostering transparency and accountability in governance and society. They serve a crucial watchdog function, providing citizens with the information they need to keep the public and private sectors accountable.  In many countries, however, repressive legal environments inhibit the media's ability to play this role.  Moreover, some journalists lack the skills to conduct the in-depth investigative reporting that is essential to accountability. Beyond traditional forms of media, people's access to information via the Internet, cell phones and other communications technologies can be stifled by a restrictive or monopolistic regulatory environment.

                              Sam Bunnath stands on a pier next to a boat.

Recognizing the importance of the free flow of news and information in fostering good governance and transparency in countries where we work, SIDO has trained journalists in investigative reporting, produced television programming to encourage dialogue on corruption, and helped reform media laws, including expanding freedom of information rights. SIDO has also worked with governments to ensure a sound and independent regulatory environment for the communications sector, promoting open and accessible Internet and telecommunications policy. In addition, to increase transparency and efficiency, SIDO works in transitional countries to promote e-government, getting government services and information online.

Fostering Investigative Reporting
SIDO has and will continue to train and support journalists in in-depth, balanced investigative reporting in each countries. Most recently, in Cambodia, SIDO has trained Khmer-language print journalists and editors in investigative reporting with a specific emphasis on public corruption. Today, most Khmer accept bribes and corruption as a fact of life, essentially giving vested interests a free ride at the country’s expense. SIDO' program emphasizes the need to develop a more critical attitude toward corruption.

Supporting Media Watchdogs
SIDO will build a web-based outlet for the review, in-depth analysis and critical assessment of each TV and radio program content as well as current media trends.  Its mission is to help build a professional, responsible, empowered each country’s media and serve as a watchdog for the regulatory body and frequency allocation with a focus on accountability of the regulatory bodies in three countries.  It also focused on attempts by the body responsible for provision of frequencies to television and radio channels to avoid proper frequency licensing procedures for television channels.  As a result, the channels and their backers failed in their attempts to dodge legal procedures.

Reforming Media Laws
Based on our research, SIDO will work for fair media laws in three countries. In advocating for a legal environment that supports independent media and upholds journalists' ability to do their jobs, SIDO works with all parties involved in the issue, including the government,  industry, social issues, academia, civil society and the public. 

SIDO' media law activities have included holding media law clinics, providing legal support to independent television and radio stations, engaging provincial governments to create local media regulations in tune with national laws, bringing in international experts to provide advice, and sponsoring parliamentary visits to the United States and Australia to study the American and Australian media law framework.

Advocating for Access to Information Legislation
For the media to meet their obligation to inform the citizenry and act as a watchdog of government legitimacy and effectiveness, there must be mechanisms in place for journalists and the public to access government documents. SIDO will assist the countries where we work with their Access to Information concerns. For example, in Cambodia, SIDO along with the Cambodian Media Law and especially the Ministry of Information will work with reform-minded parliamentarians, civil society and other relevant stakeholders for a parliamentary Freedom of Information Act.  This collaboration sensitized governmental decision makers and members of parliament to the importance of a carefully crafted bill.

Access to Information and Communications Technologies (ICT)
To ensure good governance and transparency, journalists and citizens need easy, affordable access to information via the Internet and telecommunications. SIDO and The Ministry of Information will partner to establish the Global Internet Policy Initiative (GIPI), which supports the adoption of a legal and policy framework for an open, democratic, and user-controlled Internet. GIPI will work in firstly three countries Cambodia, Vietnam and Lao PDR as the sample.

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