Cameroon Tribune (Yaoundé)

Cameroon: Citizenship and Responsibility on Target

Journalists from Cameroon and the Diaspora have converged in Yaounde to discuss problems affecting the sector. The ongoing National Forum on Communication consists of lectures and thematic workshops. The topics as well as the speakers were selected on the basis of identified problems that helped raise relevant questions and enlightened participants during the working session. Workshop number one was "Media, Citizenship and Responsibility".

With the 1990 law on communication relating to the freedom of social communication, the media landscape in Cameroon was greatly transformed. The printed press sector had had only few publications apart from the national bilingual daily Cameroon Tribune. It was the only newspaper that was regular in the market. Today, there are five private daily newspapers and several hundreds of newspapers declared which appear in the market at variable intervals. As for the audiovisual communication, the sector was monopolised by the "Direction de la Radio diffusion" and then the Cameroon Television (CTV) and finally the Cameroon Radio and Television (CRTV). Today, there are at least fifteen private television stations and over 100 radio stations operating in the country.

Meanwhile, the journalism profession was literally opened by the provisions of the 1990 law. Access to the profession was no longer only for trained journalists. Article 46 of the December 19, 1990 law qualifies a journalist as any person who on the basis of his intelligence, training and talents is considered apt in the search and treatment of information destined for social communication. The 2002 law on the issuing of the press card insisted on tree categories the holder of a certificate in journalism, working experience and the others who could not meet the above mentioned conditions had to meet certain conditions based on professional experience. However, this laxity in the profession has brought about with it some difficulties that hamper the sector. These include poor working conditions of journalists, using the media for political gains, lack of mastery of the process of access to information among others.

At the end, sloppy journalism that has been noticed especially in the private media has brought about loss of credibility. Worst still, is the negative image of the Cameroon that is being projected abroad by the local press. The objective of the workshop therefore is to come out with a consensus of the different social actors on the positive contribution to the improvement of the image of Cameroon at home and abroad. It is expected a consensual platform of a positive image of the country for a positive improvement taking into consideration editorial orientations and journalistic ethics.

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