By Professor Janet Steele
This was one of the most interesting and inspiring speaker trips that I have ever experienced.
I first visited Phnom Penh, Cambodia for three days in October 2012, when I was evaluating the radio program "Asia Calling" for a USAID grant. Although I was only in Cambodia for a short time, it was long enough to make me want to come back. Not only was I captivated by the spirit of the journalists whom I met at the Cambodian Center for Independent Media (CCIM), but after visiting S21 and the Choeung Ek Killing Fields, I also wanted to learn more about Cambodia. I wanted to try to understand how the Cambodian people had survived such terrible times, and where they had found the strength to get on with their lives with such remarkable resiliency.
During that first very short visit, I was also struck by the similarities between journalism in Cambodia and what I had observed in other countries making the transition to democracy, especially Indonesia, Malaysia and East Timor. As an American lecturer with considerable experience in teaching about journalism theory and practice in Southeast Asia, I thought that perhaps I could make a small contribution.