Process to Randomly Select Respondents in a Survey – Monday, 26.1.2009

Posted on 27 January 2009. Filed under: Week 597 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 597

“In September 2008, the Human Rights Center, University of California, Berkeley, began a survey called So we will never forget – A Population-based survey on attitudes about social reconstruction – and the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia [Researchers/authors: Mychelle Balthazard, Sokhom Hean, Phuong Pham, Eric Stover, Patrick Vinck]. The results of this survey were released to the [Cambodian] public on 21 January 2009 at the Sunway Hotel, in a meeting organized by the Cambodian Human Rights Action Committee – CHRAC. the methodology was a systematic random sampling , made according to general technical standard systems to survey people. In the survey, researchers randomly selected 125 communes out of the existing 1,621. This selection was done proportionately to population size at the communes. After that, the researchers randomly selected 250 villages countrywide from these communes. There were four randomly selected families in each village and one member of each family was randomly selected. As a result, the researches had 1,000 selected respondents from all places around Cambodia. Data collected were analyzed using the Statistical Package for Social Sciences.

“Each survey in Cambodia encounteres many obstacles. A major obstacle that should be considered is that it is most difficult to solve what is a clear selection of respondents, to ensure that there is no partiality and that results of the survey reflect the actual reality in the society. There are many factors in the survey of the above Human Rights Center that needed to be solved. The first aspect is that Cambodia has a patriarchal social structure, and there are many big differences between the various groups of people. There are big gaps between the rich and the poor, the highly-educated people and those who are illiterate, between the city residents and the people in rural areas (the differences between these pairs of groups have many consequences, such as the understanding of society, different living standards, differences in education, population density, and different ways of life …). As a result, it is very difficult to clearly conclude how the researchers defined who is a ‘general Khmer citizens,’ because in Cambodia there are many differences between different communities, and there are many ethnic groups. The survey aimed to study the opinions of all Cambodian people, but to explain who all the Cambodian people are is difficult. Nevertheless, the methodology to select respondents by the Human Rights Center was thoroughly conducted by studying previous surveys of the Khmer Institute for Democracy, and it included scientific research methodology. However, we have to suggest that we have to conduct surveys for each group separately rather than for the whole Cambodian people. Doing so allows us to know well to what extent each group of people knows about the Khmer Rouge regime and the Khmer Rouge Tribunal. If we would get such information, we would find it easy to create outreach programs for the villages to educate the people there further.

“The second point relates to the population density in each province. If we conduct surveys by randomly selecting villages and communes without thinking about population density, we will get partial towards provinces with a small density. The above survey of the Human Right Center uses a selection of villages and communes which is proportionate to the population size of the different provinces. This factor is important to note in the above survey.

“The third point is that a survey has to consider the theory of the environment of the people [related to a center] which states that when people live farther away from populated areas, their knowledge regarding the social situation drops. According to this theory, the population density is divided into three main sections: the core section, the middle section, and the outer section. In general, people living in the core section are highly educated, rich, and knowledgeable in many social skills, and they influence people living in the middle and the outer sections. There are many reasons for these results. The first reason is infrastructure: where generally people in the outer sections find it hard to connect to the core sections, because of many reasons, such as damaged roads and lack of travel facilities. The second reason is communication, which affects the mentality of people living in the outer section, because they do not of have access to television, newspapers, and radio. However, at present, the Cambodian economy is growing and people in the core, middle, and outer sections get closer to one another little by little, narrowing the gap of the mentality of the three sections of people.

“The fourth point relates to the selection of respondents so that those chosen obviously represent Cambodian people. Respondents of the survey of the Human Rights Center of the University of California were at the age of 39.8 on average, and the number of men and women were equal. 69% of the respondents lived under the Khmer Rouge regime and the rest of 31% said that they were born after the Khmer Rouge regime. But according to statistic of the National Statistical Institute, 68% of Khmer citizens are 29 or under. Therefore, the other 32% have spent part of their life under the Khmer Rouge regime. This different handling of the statistics might be partial towards those who spent part of their life under the Khmer Rouge regime. This partiality might affect different responses quite a lot, especially related to the status of being a victim, the understanding of the Khmer Rouge regime, and of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal, reconciliation, and compensation.

“Fifth, the Human Rights Center of the University of California recognized that one shortage of this survey is the problem of not meeting respondents that had already been selected through the random selection methodology. The report of the survey said that 147 families were identified and replaced by other families, because nobody was at home (76%), families refused to give responses (5%), and other reasons (19%). Moreover, more than 297 respondents were selected and then exchanged because they were not at home when the researchers went to interview them (85%). Those replacements strongly affected the random selection. One reason is that those who stayed back could not express their interests, social class, and knowledge. Those who went to work outside might be members of families with more strenuous labor and knowledge than members of families staying home. Therefore, researchers could have received the information that Khmer citizens are not much interested in the Khmer Rouge Tribunal or do not know this court.

“The above points are major points of that the Human Rights Center of the University of California studied, and what different organizations that intend to conduct surveys should consider. Furthermore, other obstacles, such as the interpretation of questions from English to Khmer, and different views between researchers and respondents regarding important ideas such as reconciliation, remembrance, what is a victim, who is a perpetrator, what is the understanding of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal and regime. The last point that all researchers should also be aware of, is that people’s opinions are influenced by different events at villages and by outside happenings. This is a reason which creates gaps between previous and future results. Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4804, 25-26.1.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Monday, 26 January 2009

Amnach Reas, Vol.2, #38, 26-1.1.2009

  • Military Officials of the Ministry of Defense Who Retired Demand the Government to Release Their Salaries [more than 6,000 military persons were retired since April 2008, but so far, they have not received their pensions]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #1856, 25-26.1.2009

  • Ke Kim Yan Had Tears in His Eyes during a Ceremony to Change Assignments [he said that already six months earlier he had asked Prime Minister Hun to retire from his position of the commander-in-chef of the Royal Cambodia Armed Forces because of ill health]
  • Nearly 2,000 [garment] Workers of the LA Factory Strike because Their Boss Has Not Released Their Salaries for Two Months [Phnom Penh]
  • Lim Marachit, a Khmer in the United States of America, Found a Pesticide to Kill “Banla Yuon” Plant [phonetic – probably Water hyacinth? – also known as Ouyas [phonetic] – this plant grows in rivers and affects natural fish breeding] before Returning to Cambodia

Khmer Sthapana, Vol.2, #191, 25.1.2009

  • Human Rights Groups Condemn the Authorities That Used Armed Forces and Machinery to Destroy the Houses and Evict the Dey Krahom Residents [Phnom Penh]
  • Three Features of Cambodia Cannot Avoid the Threats of the Financial Crisis [30% of construction plans with millions of dollars of planned investment were suspended or canceled, the garment export dropped by 2% in 2008, and the number of tourists from the United States of America and Europe declined by 39%]
  • Cambodia Takes Up Tourists from Russia and from Kuwait as a New Tourism Destination
  • The New Market Inaugurated Repairing Site [Phnom Penh]
  • Mr. Obama Orders to Completely Close the Guantánamo Prison [in Cuba]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6561, 26.1.2009

  • Solving Border Disputes: The Cambodian and Thai Ministers of Foreign Affairs Will Meet to Discuss Today
  • Eighteen Trainees [from state institutions] Receive Certificates as Spokespersons for the First Time
  • Districts of Provincial Towns Are Changed into Cities, and Three Big Cities Were Changed into Provinces [three cities, equal to t former districts, are Poipet City in Banteay Meanchey, Suong City in Kompong Cham, and Bavet City in Prey Svay Rieng, and the three big cities that are changed into provinces are Kep, Sihanoukville, and Pailin]
  • [Ousted former Thai Prime Minister] Thaksin Announced His Commitment to Struggle in Thai Politics Forever [statememt on opposition TV channel]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4804, 25-26.1.2009

  • Process to Randomly Select Respondents in a Survey
  • Two Cambodian Students Won a Law Competition [in Cambodia] and Will Join an International Competition in the United States of America

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No Need to Wait for a Law on Access to Information: The Press in Cambodia Faces Rejection When Trying to Get Information – Monday, 29.12.2008

Posted on 30 December 2008. Filed under: Week 593 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |


The Mirror, Vol. 12, No. 593

“Phnom Penh: In an attempt to play a better role as conveyor of messages from citizens to the Royal Government and from the Royal Government to citizens, the Club of Cambodian Journalists held the Fifth Editors’ Forum of Cambodia under the motto ‘Assessments by Editors of the Situation of Access to Information’ in the evening of 27 December 2008 at the Himawari Hotel in Phnom Penh, with a Secretary of State of the Ministry of Information, Mr. Nov Sovatharo, chairing. This important forum was supported by the Konrad Adenauer Foundation like the previous forums.

“There was an active discussion after four speakers – Mr. Puy Kea, a reporter of the Kyodo News Agency of Japan, Mr. Pen Bona, co-editor of Cambodge Soir, Mr. Net Phatra, representing the Phnom Penh Post, and Mr. Chea Sayna, the editor of Koh Santepheap – expressed their opinions related to easiness and difficulties related to ‘Access to Information and Problems Faced.’ At the end, the editors’ forum decided to release the following joint declaration:

Joint Declaration of the Fifth Editors’ Forum of Cambodia ‘Access to Information without Waiting for a Law about Access to Information’
27 December 2008
Himawari Hotel
Phnom Penh, Cambodia

All of us, 35 people (as seen in the attached list with our signatures [not included here]) editors, publishing both through newspapers and through radio and TV in Cambodia, met during the Fifth Editors’ Forum in Phnom Penh on 27 December 2008 to discuss and to assess the situation of access to information which we face in our professional work during the year, and to find solutions. Under the theme of ‘Access to Information and Different Problems Faced speakers raised problems, expressed views, and provided recommendations related to:

  • The situation of access to information for foreign news agencies in Cambodia
    • Access to information related to the Preah Vihear border disputes
    • Access to information at different provinces countrywide
    • Access to information at central level (in Phnom Penh, at ministries, at private companies)

    Then, the Fifth Editor’s Forum of Cambodia discussed, in general, all points raised in the forum by the speakers and joined to assess the situation of access to information in Cambodia with high responsibility.

    Problems Identified Limiting Access to Information

    After discussions and assessments by the Fifth Editors’ Forum, the following problems are seen:

    1. Spokespersons or Public Relations Officials, or Information Officials: Many ministries and other state institutions, like the National Assembly, the Senate, as well as organizations and companies, do not have spokespersons or public relations officials, or information officials who professionally fulfill these tasks. This becomes a major obstacle against the flow of information for the general public, as guaranteed by the Constitution of 1993.
    2. Provision of Documents: In general, official documents are necessary, to be sure that a report and its information is made correctly, official documents are mostly not confidential documents, official documents have to be published by individual institutions and ministries that have to provide information to the public, and to publish about their own activities…, but often, such documents are not provided or prepared for publication and provided to journalists, not even their annual reports, and reports about the orientation of their work in the new year.
    3. Different Programs, Activities, and Meetings: Meetings that should be open are often declared to be internal and confidential affairs of the institutions, and journalists are asked to leave the meetings. At the same time, the work plans of the leaders of ministries and of other institutions are usually kept locked away in a drawer in the administration’s office, so that it sometimes seems that leaders of ministries are more secretive than the prime minister – and sometimes they do not seem to work.
    4. Announcements of Information: A small number of ministries announce information about some important events. But, regrettably, most ministries and institutions do not announce information, and some information is announced unexpectedly late.
    5. Regular Meetings and Press Conferences: In contrast to what is done in other modern countries, most ministries and institutions do not hold press conference or meet with journalists at all, although there were important and big problems to be explained and published. This makes the public to feel uninformed about the activities and the work of such ministries or institutions.
    6. Websites: Websites are one of the most important sources of information in this era of information technology. Most ministries and institutions have their own websites. This is an encouraging start. However, regrettably, most websites of ministries and of institutions are not kept updated with new information. Therefore, their websites cannot provide information and do not indicate where information can be found.

    Conclusion

    The weaknesses and gaps mentioned above are problems working against the access to information, and therefore the efficiency of different services, especially of public services, is questioned. Nevertheless, these problems can be addressed without waiting for a law about access to information. Corrections can be made through a change of behavior of some officials, and by a reorganization of the working structures at different institutions and ministries. The Royal Government has done a lot of work for people’s wellbeing and for national development, but the above shortages seems to swallow all achievements and accomplishments, when they are not shown to the public: to know, to hear, and to see. In the meantime, some facts in the social and economic life are ignored or are not solved in time, and consequently, everyone is a loser, both the Royal Government and the citizens.

    Appeal in a Situation that a Law about Access to Information Is Not Yet Adopted
    1. The Fifth Editor’s Forum of Cambodia would like to ask all ministries and institutions to appoint information officials or public relations officials, or spokespersons, and to organize their work so that they can work professionally and can fulfill their different tasks, such as to provide documents, to provide data about the work and about their activities, and especially to be able to respond to questions from journalists.
    2. All ministries and institutions should hold press conferences or meet with journalists regularly, to provide information about their activities and about the work of their ministries and institutions, and they must be conducted at least once per month.
    3. In cases of emergency, all ministries and institutions should release timely information for publication for the sake of the public. The publication of timely information can sometimes avoid danger and damage.
    4. All ministries and institutions should create their own websites to provide information to the public. As for some ministries and institutions that already have their own websites, they have to update information on their websites every day when there is new information.
    5. The Fifth Editors’ Forum of Cambodia will observe and assess the provision of information, and the Sixth Editors’ Forum, to be held again in 2009, will promote and strengthen the role of the Cambodian press in Cambodian society and in the international arena.

    Phnom Penh, 27 December 2008”
    Koh Santepheap, Vol.41, #6537, 29.12.2008

    Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
    Monday, 29 December 2008

    Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.7, #1832, 28-29.12.2008

    • Siem Reap Court Detains Three People, including a Journalist [of Sangkum Khmer], over a Land Dispute in Chi Kraeng District [for using violence against a real estate owner, and for provoking crimes, while residents said that they are arrested unjustly]
    • Pakistan and India Send Troops to their Border, Increasing Tension
    • China Sends Warships to the Gulf of Aden [to help fight Somali pirates]

    Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.2, #314, 28-30.12.2008

    • Secretary of State of the Ministry of Water Resources and Meteorology Tan Vanthara Appeared at a Gambling Site of the Phnom Penh Hotel
    • [Former military police officer] Chea Ratha Said Something about the Place Where She Is Hiding [she is living in a pagoda in a foreign country], Adding that She Is a Victim Regarding the Acid Attack [on the aunt of Ms. In Soklida, a well-known film star, with whom she had an affair]
    • [Former Thai Minister of Foreign Affairs] Noppadon Pattama Will Raise the Preah Vihear Temple Problem, to Attack [new Prime Minister] Abhisit Vejjajiva [during the meeting of the Thai parliament]

    Khmer Sthapana, Vol.1, #170, 28-29.12.2008

    • Dey Krahom Community Residents Face Eviction on 30 December 2008 [after the Chamkar Mon district office issued the last notice for the rest of 91 families (of 1274 families) at the Building Block area to leave by 30 December 2008]

    Koh Santepheap, Vol.41, #6537, 29.12.2008

    • No Need to Wait for a Law on Access to Information: The Press in Cambodia Faces Rejection When Trying to Get Information
    • Negotiation with Siam [Thailand] Is Still the Position for Border Issues and It Is the Most Appropriate Choice to Avoid War [said spokesperson of the government and Minister of Information, Mr. Khieu Kanharith]
    • Red-Shirt Demonstrators [supporters of the ousted Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra] Start to Surround the Thai Parliament [to prevent the presentation of the policy statement by Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva]
    • Israel Attacked Hamas in Gaza Causing Many Deaths [as revenge for Hamas rocket attacks on Israel – at least 271 people were killed and more than 620 others were injured. – Status on 29.12.2008: 1 soldier and 3 civilians were killed in Israel; more that 310 persons were killed in Gaza, and hundreds wounded]
    • More Than 98,000 Civilians Killed in Iraq [since 2003]

    Meatophum, Vol.52, #716, 29-31.12.2008

    • If [Minister of Foreign Affairs] Mr. Hor Namhong Does Not Assign His Son, Whom Should He Assign? [he will appoint his son, Hor Monyrath, to be ambassador in Japan from 2009]

    Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.15, #3651, 29.12.2008

    • The Spokesperson of the Government [Mr. Khieu Kanharith] Said that If an Armed Clash Happens along the Khmer-Siamese [Thai] Border, Cambodia Would Need 20,000 Troops
    • Members of the European Parliament Prepare to Sue Yuon [Vietnamese] Airline [for preventing them, Mr. Marco Panella and Mr. Marco Perduca, to board a plane from Cambodia to Vietnam]
    • The Director of the Cambodia Mine Action Authority Was Removed from His Position Related to Corruption [over the collapse of financing for the mine-sniffing dog raising and breeding program – Mr. Sam Sotha was replaced by Mr. Chum Bunrong, an advisor of Prime Minister Hun Sen]

    Rasmei Angkor, Vol.15, #1336, 29.12.2008

    • The Public of the [Phnom Penh] City Welcomes that the Authorities Curb Down Illegal Motorbike Pawn Shops [because such places are said to increase robberies in the city – nearly 2,000 motorbikes were found, 70% do not have number plates or tax stickers]


    Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.16, #4780, 28-29.12.2008

    • The Ministry of Interior Starts to Release Money instead of Rice to Police in 2009 [because of quality problems, late delivery, and loss of rice – instead of 1 kilogram of rice Riel 2,800 is paid – approx. US$0.70 – no information given how many kg in total are provided per month]
    • The Setting of Cambodia-Vietnam Border Markers Is Delayed until 2012 [the Cambodian-Vietnamese border of 1,270 km needs to be marked with 370 markers, worth more than US$15 million, and Vietnam is responsible for the whole expenses]

    Have a look at the last editorial – you can access it directly from the main page of the Mirror.

    And please recommend us also to your colleagues and friends.

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