Cameroon Journalists Charged to Add Valor to Democracy

The question of freedom of speech, stands as a challenge for many Journalists in Cameroon. Many journalists will not  publish sensitive content that may lead to their arrest but will rather keep as archive. Madam Leanne Canion from the Public Affairs Department Of US Embassy in Cameroon, visited trainees and expressed delight meeting the Journalists attending the training, as She talks of Journalists being the number one priority for the US Embassy, to Accompany them in shaping the roles to play in Democracy.

                                             Miss Leonne Canion, Public Affairs Officer with US Embassy

Miss Canion explains that she has spent more time with Journalists for the past 3 months and thinks that it is important for Journalists to add more valor to Democracy. Trainees in attendance had an exchange with her and decided to find out how the US Embassy will accompany the Cameroonian Journalists to reach their goals, considering that the stakes of the era are high and the training session is only timely to contribute in fixing the situation.

The training session made Journalists edified and tooled, yet required a lot of reading. In line with this, Miss Leonne Canion talks about the US Democracy having rooted principles, protecting expression and thereby, allows the Press to criticize Government or the President, as this was approved in the 10 amendments of the US constitution. The US does not regulate laws or have laws prohibiting freedom of speech, and according to her Journalists in Cameroon have a major role to play, to counter laws that prohibit some actions like freedom of expression, laws that prohibit protecting people and respecting people’s right.

 From the exchange with participants, she mentions that it may also depend on how much independent a media organ is, like its state of finances; revenue or Income and advice that for those who want to report on elections, Journalists should seek the experts in the domain.
Charles Ebune, a senior journalists working with the state media talks continues to advice that Journalists should developm keep and practice the reading culture. He talks on Investigating Corruption and says that to do a good report, the reporter ,must be corrupt, so that it is based on facts. The 2 types of corruption he talks; Corruption in media and in public officials.  He remarks that most Journalists in Cameroon do not get awards because of their corrupt means in getting information, and that it is important to rather get involved with social issues, refraining from being a diplomatic gossip, telling your interest in a story to someone, which will help detractors derail the reporter from the matter. The sensitive nature of investigative Journalism, needs focus and the reporter in question must be able to do more of listening than talking.
                                                               Charles Ebune, Journalist with CRTV

In investigative Journalism the reporter should do a background check of all those in the chain of investigation, though there are a number of challenges in doing so; Journalists are extremely poorly paid and news organs turn to gossip clubs deviating from editorial policies, the flippant nature of investigative Journalists, the legal framework not being in the favor of the Journalist doing the investigative report and to have all facts correct. The reporter or Journalists must read extensively and refrain from whistle blowing.

To be credible and have authority over stories, Charles Ebune explains that it is important to always put in mind, the notion of time, to contextualize, be data based and quote sources. Much attention given to diction so as to create impact. A report carrying a lot of anonymous sources is considered a fake report. To combat fear, a Journalist should have in mind a purpose driven life and legacy.

Measures for securing interview content, as trainees gathered from the session; be professional at all times, not making your guests your friends, the material obtained is for your employer not for personal interest, accept to be scrutinized or be used as an example, ask pertinent questions. All key points he outlined in answering questions of Journalists in the session, gave an insight on some negative things done by Journalists which makes them not credible.

                         Comfort Mussa, An expert in the field of Communications trains on Peace Journalism

Peace Journalism is one of the main focus of most Journalist reporting within conflict hit zones and Comfort Musa, one of the Training’s facilitator did a throwback on this to find our how much Journalists have done on content as Peace Reporters. Making the forum more interactive, participants reflected on possible stories to report on, as an element of Peace Journalism. Journalists had to peach stories and were encourage to do them in their different communities. Learning that with Peace Journalism, stories peached must be unique in their angle and their content should be different from what other Journalists may have reported on. 


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