Trainees Sort to Know WHO Regulates HateSpeech and Fake News

  Journalists exploring modules during the training session in Yaounde
Journalists attending a week long training session in a Yaoundé, have embarked acquiring lessons on the different modules prepared for the workshop, geared towards their practice in the profession. In the course, they have met and listened to different experts and facilitators who gave out lessons depending on their field of competence or expertise.As they fine tune their skill in reporting in conflict situations or during elections and were provided with the tools to manage some of the challenges faced on the field.

Accompanied with studies and some practical lessons, participants were opened to a question and answer session especially on topics like The Stakes and challenges on fair reporting, Media and Elections, Digital Security and Big Data. Dr Etoa Georges, explains that its is Important for Journalists to equip themselves better on what entails to cover elections before doing so and were encouraged, to have a mastery of the electoral code given the Political Context of Cameroon, in order to avoid reporting on any content that will spark violence.

 The training that centered around Media, Peace and Elections, Mr Etoa George also explained that there is knowledge on legality and legitimacy of Press restrictions, laws and regulations concerning information and communication. And that this must never hinder journalists ability to present a range of ideas and opinions that arise in an election campaign. Journalists are suppose to protect their sources and yet be wary of being manipulated and be influenced in their reports and also, must remember that their objectivity and neutrality will give the public or their different target audience the right information. 

Despite the rights that gives access to information for Journalists, they are still called to be aware on Digital Security, to prevent a situation of arrest, detention, intimidation or threat of life and Miss Prudence Noutcham a facilitator, skilled in this part of technology, drilled Journalists on the different ways to protect information using the different devices in their procession in Communication. Journalists in the session proved ignorant about some of the techniques they needed to use in protecting their different content and shared ideas, while considering the need to update their way of preserving information, based on the lessons learnt.

Miss Prudence laid emphasis on the need for Digital Security and exposed trainees to reflect on reasons why some platforms provided the opportunity for browsers to get free access to other sites.  She also enlightened trainees on the reasons why such sites were easily accessible and also gave reasons for the high possibility that this could give room for hackers to have access to the privacy of users by use of links.
Slides shown during the training session             
Journalists were also faced with the question of who should regulate hate speech and fake news , which appeared, to be one of the major topics discussed in the training and the challenge of  knowing  how to decipher what hate speech is, before regulating it. The reasons why to regulate Hate Speech, is to curb the effects of it online and offline and preserve national unity, integrity, public order, thereby promoting responsible citizen journalism and to foster Peace. But, Who should regulate it becomes a million dollar question.
Mr Sakah Bernard teaches on Hate Speech and Fake News
 Mr Sakah Bernard talks of about 6 million people having access to internet and about 3.4 million people of that same population, In Cameroon, have access to social Media, and the question of proposing content on what information should be used or diffused online or on public platforms is in a way tampering with Digital Rights. Therefore Promoting Democratic values and Principles, enhancing social cohesion to counter radicalization, will need someone or an institution to regulate Hate speech and fake news and if that same regulatory body uses or promote hate speech, the challenge will even be   huge.

Adding ingredient to how hate speech and fake news can be handled, there was room for an exchange between Journalists and Members of Parliament Invited, who saw the need for this phenomenon to be punishable by law imposed by Government, which might also be one of the recommendations arrived at, from the Training with Cameroonian Journalists. Members of Parliament, Honorable Njume Peter and Honorable Pangnashi Roland started discussions by engaging Journalists to understand how sometimes bad reports can influence smooth functioning in Administration.
Members of Parliament in an Exchange with Journalists
Honorable Njume Peter explained that though there had been continuity of fake news and hate speech after the Major National Dialogue, he perceives calm will return if recommendations of the Major National Dialogue are implemented. He proposed that if Journalists could sit as a body and do a write up or do proposals, being the eye, ears and mouth of the people, and forward to Parliament, this action will create an impact and will be a trigger for those in Parliament to prepare a Bill that could help improve on the Digital rights of Cameroonians.
                          Trainees in an Exchange with Members of Parliament on Hate Speech

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