14 June 2004

Cameroon: Journalists Scramble for News

The Chad-Cameroon pipeline inaugural ceremony attracted a battery of national and foreign pressmen.

The cream of national and foreign journalists that was present scrambled for information at the Kribi ceremonial ground. One could easily identify the press organs through the initials on their communication equipment like the microphone, the cameras and in a few cases their uniforms. It was a melting pot of reporters, photographers, cameramen and on-line publishers. Visible at the ceremony were, the RFI, BBC, CRTV, Chadian Radio-Television " Radio-télévision Tchadienne", Central African Radio-television and Cameroon Tribune, amongst others. The CRTV alone sent about 140 journalists and technicians while Cameroon Tribune sent about 20 journalists to cover the event, described as one of the greatest achievement in the Central African sub-region. Some journalists of the national private press also took part in the occasion.

One of the media men from Chad, Bayi Adis, a Cameraman told Cameroon-Tribune that, they were satisfied with the coverage of the Chad-Cameroon pipeline. He said, three journalists came with President Idriss Deby to cover the event; a cameraman, a photographer who will work with the press as soon as they return to their country, and a journalist.

Mr. Bayi Adis explained that, the main problem encountered was tightened security. "They sometimes stopped us from entering into the ceremonial grounds even with our badges on", he said, adding that, thanks to the collaboration of their colleagues, Cameroonian journalists, they could easily do their job. " Inasmuch as the security men and the protocol do their job, they should understand that we have to do ours as well", he explained.

On the other hand, the cameraman of the Central African Republic (CAR) said, only two journalists represented his country at the Chad-Cameroon pipeline commissioning. A cameraman, David Wouabob and a journalist, Alain George Ngatoua, recently promoted editor-in-chief to Director in charge of communication at the CAR presidency. He said, the few difficulties encountered were posed by protocol officials and the security who did not facilitate their work. He expressed the wish to see the protocol, security and journalists work hand in gloves to better serve the nation.

Another problem Mr. Woabob said, was the inadequate hotels. "We arrived Kribi at 6 pm and could only get a room by 11 pm", he said. However, the cameraman was satisfied with the work done. He said, he had taken beautiful images of the ceremony in Kribi".

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