Civic and Voter Education

The Department of Training and Public Information of the National Election Commission is responsible for producing and disseminating voter education materials and promoting awareness on electoral matters. The NEC should also encourage the active participation of national and international NGOs operating in Cambodia in dissemination and education activities in order to promote civic electoral awareness. Civic

During the election campaign period, the NEC shall request the Director of newspapers, radios and TVs to provide it with their weekly or monthly broadcasting programs and the broadcasting tariff. Private media system is also encouraged to disseminate election information to voters.

From the survey of voters, television and radio are the primary media sources of information Cambodians use to learn about developments in the country, apart from that, they also agained information from friends and family, private TV channels, state TV channels, private radio stations, state radio, and friends and family. The primary source of information on the voter registration update was the village chief.

The voter education in Cambodia was inadequate during past elections. However, the knowledge levels of voters have increased – voters were able to vote and understood their right to vote. The need for civic and voter education prevails in Cambodia and will continue to do so in future elections: only informed citizens can become allies in the process of reforming and improving the country’s social, economic and political systems.

Some of the obstacles and challenges to voter education are:

-Voter education dealt with critical issues like vote buying and intimidation that annoy vested interests;

-On occasion, local authorities, PEC and CEC created obstacles;

-As elections were held in the rainy season, education programs are sometimes disrupted by inclement weather;

-At times, there was a lack of voter interest to attend such events;

-The NEC failed to engage effectively the state media in disseminating voter education;

-Some voter education programs during the past election were partisan.

Voter education issues in Cambodian elections include:

-election laws, regulations, procedures, election schedule, etc;

-how citizens can participate in elections;

-information regarding parties and candidates, enabling citizens to make an informed choice.

Voter education in Cambodia is conducted through the following means:

-radio and television discussions, call-in shows etc

-posters, leaflets, pictorial booklets, flyers;

-training programs and community public meetings such as those in pagodas, schools and other public places;

-dramas, movies, and other performance. The conference identified public education as a joint responsibility of the following:

-the NEC – national and international NGOs, EMOs etc;

-political parties

-local authorities

-the media and

-all citizens

During the past elections, it was recognized that voter education was inadequate during the voter registration process as the process occurs early in the election cycle, when parties and EMOs are not fully prepared to activate their volunteer networks.

For 2013 Elections, there were different groups of active local and international CSOs involved in civic education campaign, such as COMFREL, NICFEC, UNDP working with Khmer Youth Association (KYA) and the CDPO, a group advocating for the rights and wellbeing of Cambodians with disability, to raise carry out awareness-raising activities aimed at empowering indigenous people and people with disability to exercise rights to vote.

Other local organizations of which activities involve civic/ voter education are Cambodian League for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights (LICADHO), Amara- Cambodian Women’s Network for Development.

 

Reference:

Cambodia Elections: Lessons Learned and Future Directions: A Post-Election Conference Report, NDI, 2004, https://www.ndi.org/files/1782_kh_report_021204.pdf.

Voter Registration and Elections in Cambodia Key Findings from an IFES Public Opinion Survey, IFES, 2012, http://www.ifes.org/sites/default/files/voter_registration_and_elections_in_cambodia_2012_2.pdf.

Campaign prepares disadvantages Cambodians for Election, UNDP, 2012, http://www.kh.undp.org/content/cambodia/en/home/ourwork/democraticgovernance/successstories1/campaign-helps-prepare-disadvantaged-cambodians-for-election.html.

Resources :

JPG : Poster by Action on Disability 1 of 2 (2003)
JPG : Poster by Action on Disability 2 of 2 (2003)

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