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

HRW: Egypt's Trial of Morsi ‘Badly Flawed’

Human Rights Watch says former Egypt leader's detention without charge for more than three weeks after his removal from office violated Egyptian law; government rejects criticism More

Photogallery Lancet Report Calls for Major Investment in Surgery

In its report published by The Lancet, panel of experts says people are dying from conditions easily treated in the operating room such as hernia, appendicitis, obstructed labor, and serious fractures More

Music Industry Under Sway of Digital Revolution

Millions of people in every corner of the Earth now can enjoy a vast variety and quantity of music in a way that has never before been possible 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.
Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populationsi
X
April 24, 2015 10:13 PM
A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populations

A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Data Servers Could Heat Private Homes

As every computer owner knows, when their machines run a complex program they get pretty hot. In fact, cooling the processors can be expensive, especially when you're dealing with huge banks of computer servers. But what if that energy could heat private homes? VOA’s George Putic reports that a Dutch energy firm aims to do just that.
Video

Video Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festival

Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video UN Confronts Threat of Young Radicals

The radicalization and recruitment of young people into Islamist extremist groups has become a growing challenge for governments worldwide. On Thursday, the U.N. Security Council heard from experts on the issue, which has become a potent threat to international peace and security. VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports.
Video

Video Growing Numbers of Turks Discover Armenian Ancestry

In a climate of improved tolerance, growing numbers of people in Turkey are discovering their grandmothers were Armenian. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians escaped the mass deportations and slaughter of the early 1900's by forced conversion to Islam. Or, Armenian children were taken in by Turkish families and assimilated. Now their stories are increasingly being heard. Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul that the revelations are viewed as an important step.
Video

Video Migrants Trek Through Western Balkans to Reach EU

Migrants from Africa and other places are finding different routes into the European Union in search of a better life. The Associated Press followed one clandestine group to document their trek through the western Balkans to Hungary. Zlatica Hoke reports that the migrants started using that route about four years ago. Since then, it has become the second-most popular path into Western Europe, after the option of sailing from North Africa to Italy.
Video

Video TIME Magazine Honors Activists, Pioneers Seen as Influential

TIME Magazine has released its list of celebrities, leaders and activists, whom it deems the world’s “most influential” in 2015. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports from New York.
Video

Video US Businesses See Cuba as New Frontier

The Obama administration's opening toward Cuba is giving U.S. companies hope they'll be able to do business in Cuba despite the continuation of the U.S. economic embargo against the communist nation. Some American companies have been able to export some products to Cuba, but the recent lifting of Cuba's terrorism designation could relax other restrictions. As VOA's Daniela Schrier reports, corporate heavy hitters are lining up to head across the Florida Straits - though experts urge caution.
Video

Video Kenya Launches Police Recruitment Drive After Terror Attacks

Kenya launched a major police recruitment drive this week as part of a large-scale effort to boost security following a recent spate of terror attacks. VOA’s Gabe Joselow reports that allegations of corruption in the process are raising old concerns about the integrity of Kenya’s security forces.
Video

Video Japan, China in Race for Asia High-Speed Rail Projects

A lucrative competition is underway in Asia for billions of dollars in high-speed rail projects. Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia Thailand and Vietnam are among the countries planning to move onto the fast track. They are negotiating with Japan and the upstart Chinese who are locked in a duel to revolutionize transportation across Asia. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok has details.
Video

Video Scientists: Mosquitoes Attracted By Our Genes

Some people always seem to get bitten by mosquitoes more than others. Now, scientists have proved that is really the case - and they say it’s all because of genes. It’s hoped the research might lead to new preventative treatments for diseases like malaria, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Bible Museum Coming to Washington DC

Washington is the center of American political power and also home to some of the nation’s most visited museums. A new one that will showcase the Bible has skeptics questioning the motives of its conservative Christian funders. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Armenia and Politics of Word 'Genocide'

A century ago this April, hundreds of thousands of Armenians of the Turkish Ottoman empire were deported and massacred, and their culture erased from their traditional lands. While broadly accepted by the U.N. and at least 20 countries as “genocide”, the United States and Turkey have resisted using that word to describe the atrocities that stretched from 1915 to 1923. But Armenians have never forgotten.
Video

Video Afghan First Lady Pledges No Roll Back on Women's Rights

Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani, named one of Time's 100 Most Influential, says women should take part in talks with Taliban. VOA's Rokhsar Azamee has more from Kabul.
Video

Video New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Pain

From Boulder, Colorado, Shelley Schlender reports that new methods for mapping pain in the brain are providing validation for chronic pain and might someday guide better treatment.

VOA Blogs