News / Africa

Pattern of Press Freedom Abuses in Cameroon

FILE - Journalists chant anti-government slogans and sing songs as they celebrate World Press Freedom Day.
FILE - Journalists chant anti-government slogans and sing songs as they celebrate World Press Freedom Day.
Saturday is World Press Freedom Day. Commemorative activities are already going on in Cameroon, with journalists complaining that the press is manipulated by the more than three decade rule of President Paul Biya.

Cameroon has more than 500 newspapers and 100 radio and television stations. Journalists said most of the media outfits were created by the government to give an impression there is press freedom in the country led by President Paul Biya, the world's sixth longest serving leader.

VOA asked the President of the Cameroon Union of Journalists, Charlie Ndi Chia, if the proliferation of media outlets means there is freedom of the press in Cameroon.

"The answer is definitely no, we are just deceiving the world into thinking that there is press freedom in Cameroon. Its a mere boogie [deception]," he said. "The government created its own Frankenstein monster and which is allowing everyone else to be a journalist, to have a media. Look at what is happening around, just any body, just any body. I am a journalist, I am a journalist.''

Journalist John Mbah Akuru said some of the media organs are at times told by the government what to report.

"There are a lot of media houses where sometimes articles are dictated by news sources. They just call you, they dictate an article and you know these articles are carried and published and you call yourself a journalist," he said. "When you a journalist, a publisher, and you find yourself being dictated a story, you should be ashamed of calling yourself a journalist."

Kini Nsom, another journalist who reports for the Post newspaper, said those journalists who struggle to be independent are never given access to information.

"You cannot move to [approach] the presidency and verify information. There are certain institutions that are like no go areas for journalists. We cannot be talking about press freedom in a country where the president of the republic has never at any one moment granted a press conference to the national press, the prime minister the same. We cannot be pretending," said Kini Nsom.

Another issue raised by the media is that a majority of the journalists working in Cameroon never had formal training. There is poor pay, intimidation and regular arrests and detention of journalists.

President Paul Biya created Cameroon's National Communications Council to regulate the practice of journalism.

Ngala Killian Chimtom, a journalist with Cameroon's state broadcaster, told VOA the Council works as dictated by President Paul Biya.

"When the president of the Republic takes up his pen, and then he appoints a number of people to regulate the press, these people will be at the beck and call of the executive because the president is the chief of the executive," he said.

When VOA met Cameroon's Communications Minister Issa Tchiroma for comment on accusations that the government was gagging the media, he said the government has never asked any journalist not to respect professional ethics. "Each journalist has to exercise the profession without being a prey that politicians or other people use as a tool," he said.

Last year, shortly before the September Council and parliamentary elections, the government of Cameroon shut down 11 newspapers and private radio and TV stations and opened them shortly after the voting was over.

Some journalists were also banned from practicing in what the Communication Council said was "the disrespect of professional norms."

The international non-governmental organization, Freedom House, reported in 2013 that restrictions on freedom of expression are not new to Cameroon.

Many media outlets in Cameroon are biased in favor of the ruling People's Democratic Movement (CPDM) party, headed by President Paul Biya since 1982.  Opposition reporting is repeatedly stifled by requiring a cumbersome licensing process, forcing journalists to reveal their sources, detaining and harassing journalists, and limiting access to government information.

You May Like

Video Video Claims to Show Shi'ite Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boy

While not yet independently confirmed, brutal killing already has gotten attention of Islamic State followers on social media More

After Six Years, Little Change for Niger Delta's Former Militants

Nigerians who laid down arms in exchange for government amnesty subsidies fear program may end with upcoming presidential elections More

Vietnam Pushes for More Educated Drivers to Curb Road Deaths

Transportation officials hope that making a greater effort to get drivers to learn the rules of the road will reduce fatal crashes 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.
NASA Spacecraft Approaches a Dwarf Planeti
X
George Putic
March 04, 2015 8:51 PM
NASA’s Dawn spacecraft will make history on Friday, March 6, when it becomes the first man-made object to orbit a dwarf planet named Ceres. It is located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, almost 500 million kilometers from Earth. Among other objectives, Dawn will try to examine two mysterious bright white spots detected on the planet’s surface. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video NASA Spacecraft Approaches a Dwarf Planet

NASA’s Dawn spacecraft will make history on Friday, March 6, when it becomes the first man-made object to orbit a dwarf planet named Ceres. It is located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, almost 500 million kilometers from Earth. Among other objectives, Dawn will try to examine two mysterious bright white spots detected on the planet’s surface. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Muslims Radicalized Online

Young Muslims are being radicalized ‘in their bedrooms’ through direct contact with Islamic State or ISIL fighters via the Internet, according to terror experts. There are growing concerns that authorities and Internet providers are not doing enough to counter online extremism - which analysts say is spread by a prolific network of online supporters around the world. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video African Americans Recall 1960's Fight For Voting Rights

U.S. President Barack Obama and thousands of people will gather in the small southern U.S. city of Selma, Alabama, Saturday, March 7th to commemorate the 50th anniversary of a historic voting rights march that became known as “Bloody Sunday." VOA’s Chris Simkins traveled to Alabama and introduces us to some of the foot soldiers of the voting rights struggles of the 1960’s.
Video

Video Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Image

Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Cyber War Rages Between Iran, US

A newly published report indicates Iran and the United States have increased their cyber attacks on each other, even as their top diplomats are working toward an agreement to guarantee Iran does not develop a nuclear weapon and to free Iran from international sanctions. The development is part of a growing global trend. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Answers Elude Families of MH370 Passengers

For the families on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, an airline official’s statement nearly one year ago that the plane had lost contact with air traffic control at 2:40 AM is the only thing that remains confirmed. William Ide reports.
Video

Video Land Disputes Arise Amid Uganda Oil Boom

Ugandan police say there has been a sharp increase in land disputes, with 10 new cases being reported each day. The claims come amid an oil boom as investors appear to be cashing in by selling parcels of land to multiple buyers. Meanwhile, the people who have been living on the land for decades are chased away, sometimes with a heavy hand. VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
Video

Video In Russia, Many Doubt Opposition Leader's Killer Will Be Found

The funeral has been held in Moscow for Boris Nemtsov, the opposition leader who was assassinated late Friday just meters from the Kremlin. Nemtsov joins a growing list of outspoken critics of Russia under the leadership of President Vladimir Putin who are believed to have been murdered for their work. VOA’s Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video Simulated Astronauts Get Taste of Mars, in Hawaii

For generations, people have dreamed of traveling to Mars to explore Earth's closest planetary neighbor. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports that while space agencies like NASA are planning manned missions to the planet, some volunteers in Hawaii are learning how humans will cope with months in isolation on a Mars base.
Video

Video Destruction of Iraq Artifacts Shocks Archaeologists

The city of Mosul was once one of the most culturally rich and religiously diverse cities in Iraq. That tradition is under attack by members of the Islamic State who have made Mosul their capital city. The Mosul Museum is the latest target of the group’s campaign of terror and destruction, and is of grave concern to archaeologists around the world. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video Smartphones May Help in Diagnosing HIV

Diagnosing infections such as HIV requires expensive clinical tests, making the procedure too costly for many poor patients or those living in remote areas. But a new technology called lab-on-a-chip may make the tests more accessible to many. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Refugees Complain of Harassment in Pakistan

Afghan officials have expressed concern over reports of a crackdown on Afghan refugees in Pakistan following the Peshawar school attack in December. Reports of mass arrests and police harassment coupled with fear of an uncertain future are making life difficult for a population that fled its homeland to escape war. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports from Islamabad.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More