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

    Chechen Suspected in Istanbul Attack, but Questions Remain

    Turkish sources say North Caucasus militants involved in bombing at Ataturk airport, but name of at least one alleged attacker raises doubts

    With Johnson Out, Can a New ‘Margaret Thatcher’ Save Britain?

    Contest to replace David Cameron as Britain’s prime minister started in earnest Thursday with top candidates outlining strategy to deal with Brexit fallout

    US Finds Progress Slow Against Human Trafficking in Africa

    Africa continues to be a major source and destination for human trafficking of all kinds -- from forced labor to sexual slavery, says State Department report

    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.
    Clinton Leads Trump, But Many Voters Don't Like Eitheri
    X
    Jim Malone
    June 29, 2016 6:16 PM
    In the U.S. presidential race, most recent polls show Democrat Hillary Clinton with a steady lead over Republican Donald Trump as both presumptive party nominees prepare for their party conventions next month. Trump’s disapproval ratings have risen in some recent surveys, but Clinton also suffers from high negative ratings, suggesting both candidates have a lot of work to do to improve their images before the November election. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Clinton Leads Trump, But Many Voters Don't Like Either

    In the U.S. presidential race, most recent polls show Democrat Hillary Clinton with a steady lead over Republican Donald Trump as both presumptive party nominees prepare for their party conventions next month. Trump’s disapproval ratings have risen in some recent surveys, but Clinton also suffers from high negative ratings, suggesting both candidates have a lot of work to do to improve their images before the November election. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Slow Rebuilding Amid Boko Haram Destruction in Nigeria’s Northeast

    Military operations have chased Boko Haram out of towns and cities in Nigeria’s northeast since early last year. But it is only recently that people have begun returning to their homes in Adamawa state, near the border with Cameroon, to try to rebuild their lives. For VOA, Chris Stein traveled to the area and has this report.
    Video

    Video New US Ambassador to Somalia Faces Heavy Challenges

    The new U.S. envoy to Somalia, who was sworn into office Monday, will be the first American ambassador to that nation in 25 years. He will take up his post as Somalia faces a number of crucial issues, including insecurity, an upcoming election, and the potential closure of the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya. VOA’s Jill Craig asked Somalis living in Kenya’s capital city Nairobi how they feel about the U.S. finally installing a new ambassador.
    Video

    Video At National Zoo, Captivating Animal Sculptures Illustrate Tragedy of Ocean Pollution

    The National Zoo in Washington, D.C., is home to about 1,800 animals, representing 300 species. But throughout the summer, visitors can also see other kinds of creatures there. They are larger-than-life animal sculptures that speak volumes about a global issue — the massive plastic pollution in our oceans. VOA's June Soh takes us to the zoo's special exhibit, called Washed Ashore: Art to Save the Sea.
    Video

    Video Baghdad Bikers Defy War with a Roar

    Baghdad is a city of contradictions. War is a constant. Explosions and kidnappings are part of daily life. But the Iraqi capital remains a thriving city, even if a little beat up. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on how some in Baghdad are defying the stereotype of a nation at war by pursuing a lifestyle known for its iconic symbols of rebellion: motorbikes, leather jackets and roaring engines.
    Video

    Video Melting Pot of Immigrants Working to Restore US Capitol Dome

    The American Iron Works company is one of the firms working to renovate the iconic U.S. Capitol Dome. The company employs immigrants of many different cultural and national backgrounds. VOA’s Arman Tarjimanyan has more.
    Video

    Video Testing Bamboo as Building Material

    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Orphanage in Iraqi City Houses Kids Who Lost their Parents to Attacks by IS

    An orphanage in Iraqi Kurdistan has become home to scores of Yazidi children who lost their parents after Islamic State militants took over Sinjar in Iraq’s Nineveh Province in 2014. Iraqi Kurdish forces backed by the U.S. airstrikes have since recaptured Sinjar but the need for the care provided by the orphanage continues. VOA’s Kawa Omar filed this report narrated by Rob Raffaele.
    Video

    Video Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmark

    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Brexit Resounds in US Presidential Contest

    Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is resounding in America’s presidential race. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump sees Britain’s move as an affirmation of his campaign’s core messages, while Democrat Hillary Clinton sees the episode as further evidence that Trump is unfit to be president.
    Video

    Video NASA Juno Spacecraft, Nearing Jupiter, to Shed Light on Gas Giant

    After a five-year journey, the spacecraft Juno is nearing its destination, the giant planet Jupiter, where it will enter orbit and start sending data back July 4th. As Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, the craft will pierce the veil of Jupiter's dense cloud cover to reveal its mysteries.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora