News / USA

Cameroon’s Plan for Digital Broadcasting Mired in Controversy

Stockpile of analogue televisions in Douala, CameroonStockpile of analogue televisions in Douala, Cameroon
x
Stockpile of analogue televisions in Douala, Cameroon
Stockpile of analogue televisions in Douala, Cameroon
Ntaryike Divine Jr.
The era of analog audiovisual broadcasting is nearing an end in Cameroon.   
 
The government of the Central African nation has begun implementing a schedule to adopt digital broadcasting in 2015.
 
But the plan, introduced with a ban on imports of analog television and radio sets is stirring unease and reproach among the country’s mostly cash-strapped residents.
 
The embargo on the importation of analog broadcast and reception equipment took effect on New Year’s Eve. 
 
The decree  -- signed by Prime Minister Philemon Yang -- did not end there.  It adds that sales of analog TV and radio receivers will be outlawed in July.  A complete digital switchover is planned for June.  The effort is in keeping with a global deadline set by the International Telecommunications Union in 2006.
 
There are now over a hundred public and private audiovisual media in the country using analog systems.  They’ve been warned to discontinue analog transmissions within one year -- or be fined.
 
Digital broadcasting is the transmission of audio and video using numerically processed signals which -- unlike analogue -- can be combined into one signal.
 
Experts welcome it as the most important development in television technology since color TV in the 1950s. 
 
Amadou Vamoulke, the Managing Director of the government-owned Cameroon Radio and Television, CRTV,  says digital broadcasting enables the delivery of more channels with enhanced picture and sound quality.
 
"The new technology allows for one given transmitter to emit sounds and images directed to various channels," he explained.  You have the possibility to have ten channels. Those who are inspired would produce as much as they can."
 
And that’s not all. 
 
Digital signals are free from the interference and static common to analog reception, which is caused by weather, landscape and moving objects, like trains. 
 
Videos are available on demand, viewers can record TV shows without videotape as well as access interactive services.   Following the switchover, the current spectrum used for analog TV can be converted for other uses like high definition television and high-speed mobile broadband, thereby generating revenue.
 
But, not everyone is happy.
 
Traders and the general public across Cameroon are voicing discontent with the decisions they consider top-down and dictatorial.
 
Analog TV and radio sets are still on display in city shops.  In one of them, vendor Evelyne Ngobbo, says she is selling them at giveaway rates before a sales ban comes into force.
 
"I was informed by boss two weeks ago," she says.  "He has taken measures to liquidate the stocks we have.  We are avoiding any blockage when the ministry takes on repressive measures."
 
Close by, Nancy Kwemo, an importer of brand new and used electronics appliances says the digital flat screens are far beyond the reach of average Cameroonians. 
 
She says very few people buy the digital sets selling as from about $200 USD for sets with 22-inch screens.  According to her, the absence of repair shops for defective flat screens is detering many from buying them.
 
Businessmen want import duties reduced so they can sell the digital devices at affordable rates.  However, ecologists worry about the potential damage to the environment as millions of analog receivers are dumped.
 
The government has yet to respond to such concerns.  

Listen to report on digital broadcasting in Cameroon
Listen to report on digital broadcasting in Camerooni
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X

You May Like

How to Safeguard Your Mobile Privacy

As the digital world becomes more mobile, so too do concerns about eroding privacy and increased hacking More

'Desert Dancer' Chronicles Iranian Underground Dance Troupe

Film by Richard Raymond is based on true story of Afshin Ghaffarian and his friends More

Obesity Poses Complex Problem

Professor warns of obesity’s worldwide health impact More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam Wari
X
Katherine Gypson
May 25, 2015 1:32 AM
For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.
Video

Video On Film: How Dance Defies Iran's Political Oppression

'Desert Dancer' by filmmaker Richard Raymond is based on the true story of a group of young Iranians, who form an underground dance troupe in the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is the latest in a genre of films that focus on dance as a form of freedom of expression against political oppression and social injustice. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Turkey's Ruling Party Trying to Lure Voters in Opposition Stronghold

Turkey’s AK (Justice and Development) Party is seeking a fourth successive general election victory, with the goal of securing two-thirds of the seats in Parliament to rewrite the constitution and change the country's parliamentary system into a presidential one. To achieve that, the party will need to win seats in opposition strongholds like the western city of Izmir. Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.
Video

Video Scientists Testing Space Propulsion by Light

Can the sun - the heart of our solar system - power a spacecraft to the edge of our solar system? The answer may come from a just-launched small satellite designed to test the efficiency of solar sail propulsion. Once deployed, its large sail will catch the so-called solar wind and slowly reach what scientists hope to be substantial speed. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video FIFA Trains Somali Referees

As stability returns to the once lawless nation of Somalia, the world football governing body, FIFA, is helping to rebuild the country’s sport sector by training referees as well as its young footballers. Abdulaziz Billow has more from Mogadishu.
Video

Video With US Child Obesity Rates on the Rise, Program Promotes Health Eating

In its fifth year, FoodCorps puts more than 180 young Americans into 500 schools across the United States, where they focus on teaching students about nutrition, engaging them with hands-on activities, and improving their access to healthy foods whether in the cafeteria or the greater community. Aru Pande has more.
Video

Video Virginia Neighborhood Draws People to Nostalgic Main Street

In the U.S., people used to grow up in small towns with a main street lined by family-owned shops and restaurants. Today, however, many main streets are worn down and empty because shoppers have been lured away by shopping malls. But in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria, Virginia, main street is thriving. VOA’s Deborah Block reports it has a nostalgic feel with its small restaurants and unique stores.

VOA Blogs