Regarding a Code of Ethics for Artists

Photo shows president of the Khmer Artist Association Mrs. Mao Chamnan. Photo from Khmer Artist Association Facebook Page.

The Khmer Artist Association recently held an election for its president, which led to a woman, Mrs. Mao Chamnan, who was its former president to be reelected to head the association.   

The election was surrounded by lively exchanges on social media, which led the president to call on the artists to “respect professional ethics and avoid selfish behavior.”

 Protecting copyrights, taking action against plagiarism, setting up social protection for artists are an absolute necessity to safeguard artistic creation. And this must be the primary purpose of an artist association and of the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts.       

However, if respecting professional ethics means that the artists, in order to be recognized as such by the authorities and the association, must absolutely stick to “politically correct” messages and only express what will please those in high places, this is contrary to artistic creation.

Artistic creation is a vital need for human beings.

An artist entertains, moves, pays tribute to beauty, invites philosophical reflections, gives thanks to whoever he wants—his gods, his leaders—but also lays bare human passions, the most beautiful as well as the darkest ones.  

The authorities should not assign a mission to artists, just protect their freedom to create as long as they respect the laws of the country.

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