News / Africa

Looming Digital Switchover Creates Headaches for Cameroon

FILE - Flat-screen TV sets on display at a Best Buy store in San Francisco, California.
FILE - Flat-screen TV sets on display at a Best Buy store in San Francisco, California.
With the deadline for a global switch from analog to digital technology looming, Cameroonians are still struggling with the challenges of this digital migration.

Experts agree that the benefits of digital technology are numerous. The switchover will offer sharper and brighter pictures including high definition television, and better audio, giving a better viewing experience. But  those working with Cameroon's National Commission on the digital switchover warn of challenges ahead as old TVs will no longer be able to pick up signals.

Tebo Mathias, a digital switchover expert, says, “The population is supposed to be informed, they are supposed to be well educated because you will not imagine an old person maybe in the village somewhere, one morning he is unable to tune to a station because the switchover is already there and he was not aware.”

The prices of soon-to-be-obsolete analog televisions have been tumbling ahead of the switchover in mid-2015, raising fears that counties like Cameroon will become dumping grounds for the soon-to-be-obsolete sets. The government has responded by banning the importation of all analog sets, but that also has many people upset.

Germain Nfor, a 33-year-old secondary school teacher in the capital, Yaounde, feels the government's actions have not been well thought out. He says, “[The] government has not sensitized the people on why they are banning the old TV, and after everything the plasma TVs are very very expensive. I wish to ask if there are no alternatives that one can use to capture images apart from the plasma TV?"

Journalist Gaullaume Kimbi says many will find it difficult to pay for TVs with digital technology after the June 2015 deadline.

“We are simply taken by surprise and the new TV screens are not within the reach of the average Cameroonians, which therefore means that several Cameroonian's will not be able to watch TV if that switchover were to come now,” he said.

Importers are also concerned. Panje Raoul, who has a plea for the government, says, “We are calling on the state to look for ways of supplying appliances that can transform the images from analog to digital," he say. “Are we able to buy flat screens? Today the minimum wage in Cameroon is 23,000  CFA francs, so I do not know if a Cameroonian will be able to feed himself with such an amount and also buy a plasma screen. We are asking the state to reconsider its decision,” he says.

TV sets with digital technology cost as much as $1,000 in Cameroon. The average salary in Cameroon is about $56 a month.

Switchover expert Mathias says citizens must start saving to buy the new sets because the decision taken by the International Telecommunications Union, ITU, to switch over cannot be reversed.

“ITU has already decided that after that date, those countries that refuse to switch will not be able to receive signals from abroad or their own signals will not be able to be transmitted to neighboring countries because of interference,” he said.

Many experts agree on the need for African countries to eventually migrate to digital technology,  but they also say their audiences need to be guided through the process. They suggest the creation of hot lines and help desks as well as massive public awareness campaigns.

You May Like

Official: S. Sudan President, Rebel Leader to Meet in Tanzania

Talks part of effort to end conflict in country that has left more than 10,000 people dead, displaced more than 1.5 million others More

Dutch Deny Link to Mystery Submarine Off Sweden

Netherlands denies Russian claim that 'foreign vessel' photographed in waters off Sweden could be Dutch More

China Boosts Efforts to Help Afghan, Regional Stability

Observers say China’s increased regional involvement are due to concerns that Afghan instability and the presence of anti-China militants in Pakistani border areas could fuel Xinjiang troubles More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Dibussi from: Chicago
December 30, 2013 8:37 PM
For additional details and clarification, see th follow-up article: "Cameroon's Digital Switchover (DSO) Program Mired in Misinformation, Public Confusion and Resistance" - http://www.africt.com/2013/12/cameroons-digital-switchover-dso-program.html

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Lawi
X
William Ide
October 20, 2014 10:23 AM
China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.
Video

Video Latinas Converting to Islam for Identity, Structure

Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion. According to the Pew Research Center, about 6 percent of American Muslims are Latino. And a little more than half of new converts are female. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti travelled to Miami, Florida -- where two out of every three residents is Hispanic -- to learn more.
Video

Video Nigeria Agrees to Cease-Fire With Boko Haram

Islamist militant group Boko Haram and the Nigerian government have agreed to a cease-fire. The Nigerian government issued an order Friday, telling all military chiefs "to comply with the cease-fire agreement in all theaters of operations. Why now and the significance of the agreement are questions on some people’s minds. VOA's Mariama Diallo reports.
Video

Video Kobani Fighting Sends 400,000 Refugees to Turkey

The offensive by Islamic State militants against the northern Syrian city of Kobani has caused hundreds of thousands of residents to flee to Turkey. They receive help from Turkish authorities and individuals, but say much more is needed. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from the town of Suruc a few kilometers from the border.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Syrian Defector Leaks Shocking Photos of Torture Victims

Shocking photographs purporting to show Syrian torture victims are on display at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington. The museum says the graphic images are among thousands of photographs recently smuggled out of Syria by a military policeman-turned-defector. As VOA reporter Julie Taboh reports, the museum says the photos provide further evidence of atrocities committed by the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad against its own people.
Video

Video Drought-Stricken California Considers Upgrading Water System

A three-year drought in California is causing a water shortage that is being felt on farms and cities throughout the state. As VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports, water experts, consumers and farmers say California needs to make changes to cope with an uncertain future.
Video

Video TechShop Puts High-tech Dreams Within Reach

Square, a business app and card reader, makes it possible to do credit card transactions through cell phones. But what made Square possible? VOA’s Adrianna Zhang and Enming Liu have the answer.

All About America

AppleAndroid