18 November 2012

Cameroon: Journalists' Code of Ethics Under Preparation

Communication Minister held first sectorial talks with pressmen in Yaounde on November 14.

Journalists have been urged to use the two coming weeks to harmonise two pre-existing but journalism code of ethics into a draft code that will be submitted for discussion and adoption during the upcoming National Communication Forum announced for 5th to 7th December 2012 in Yaounde. The ad hoc working group that includes ace journalists from a cross-section of the public and private press will hold working sessions at the premises of the Friedrich Ebert Foundation in Yaounde under the chairmanship of their peer, Xavier Messe.

Presiding over the talks yesterday November 14th, 2012 in Yaounde, the Minister of Communication, Issa Tchiroma Bakary explained that the first text was the Prime Minister's decree of 24th December 1992 while the second was the Code of Ethics drafted by the Union of Journalists in Cameroon (UJC) and adopted by its extraordinary general assembly in 1996. He justified the necessity for a Code of Ethics and Deontology for journalists with the shortcomings and flaws observed in the practice of journalism in Cameroon.

For Antoine Marie Ngono, there is urgency for a consensus since the 1992 text proposed by government gives more of duties while the UJC Code is more inclined towards rights of journalists. Nta à Bitang, however, said the drafting of the code should be left to journalists. Issa Tchiroma reassured the professionals that government will allow any opinion to prevail as long as it doesn't put into question "our common willingness to live together".

The Communication Minister will continue sectorial talks today and tomorrow with journalists' associations and trade unions as well as professionals from the publishing and advertising sectors, among others.

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