Cameroon: Lack of Integrity, Finance, External Influence...

The relapse in the quality of information from the media is largely blamed on the manipulation and poor working conditions of journalists.

Without the professional touch, the art of gathering and dissemination of news can be done by anybody. However, because of the nature of the audience, it has become important that a professional should be there to put the piece of information together for public consumption, bearing in mind their diversities. The advent of the Internet has seen news evolve from the newsroom to the smart phones. Citizen journalism has thrown a big challenge to professional journalism today. Unethical practices like "brown envelope" (money given to journalist), and poor working conditions have all put media professionalism on the line. This has made the credibility of information from the media questionable.

Lack of Professionalism

From the gathering and presentation of news items, one will quickly say some journalists in Cameroon are untrained and there is a dearth of professionalism in the media industry. Nowadays, most journalists depend on social media information, which badly affects the credibility of the news item. Because of the search of fame, unemployment and the fact that some people think they know how to write, many unprofessional individuals move around today with the cap of a journalist. The results of their reports can be described as "the media owner's policies and interests".

Influence of Manipulators

Influential and ruling circles are continuously trying to control the media. As such, the media highlights issues that are not important to the public. While experts decry that journalism should not be used for creating chaos in the society, it is also noted that previously, people used to join the field of journalism because they were passionate about it. Now, many are only entering the field to earn money. As such, different influential actors for their selfish gains easily manipulate these groups of people. With the financial and legal power of certain people in the society, some media houses no longer report news of general interest but prefer to highlight only those issues, which boost their businesses and some authorities.

Poor Working Conditions

Many journalists especially in the private sector say their working conditions are complex. "We work in bad conditions; wages are very low; the work environment is inadequate and inappropriate, and all that creates an unending vicious circle", one journalist lamented. Another added that their working conditions are not easy; for they have no chance of promotion or improving their family' situations; they are stuck with the pay they get from the owner and must obey him. At times, their salaries are paid two to three months later. Another recounts that "most of us live poorly, without any suitable social benefits and basic equipment needed to carry out our job like travelling expenses, cellular phones and sometimes even cameras. As such, highly driven by the "Brown Envelops" received in the field," they are forced to twist the ethics of the profession.

More From: Cameroon Tribune

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