Tuesday, November 2, 2021

Ending Crime Against Journalists, Media Coalition Diplomatic Network Launched.



(L-R) Canadian High Commissioner, British High Commissioner, Regional Directors UNESCO

Coming as a relief pill to Journalists in Cameroon, especially to those practicing in very hostile zones, a Media Freedom Coalition Diplomatic Network has been launched in Cameroon, to focus on the safety of Journalists in the exercise of their profession.

Regional Director UNESCO

Holding on the Eve of the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists, November 2nd set by the UN to counter threats of violence and crimes against Journalists, to protect freedom of expression for all.

To match words with actions, the Director for UNESCO quickly proposed that a meeting is envisaged every 3 months to follow up on activities of Journalists and engage in a plan of action.

He explained that UNESCO works in close collaboration with the media, involved with so many activities in Cameroon but has not focused on Safety of Journalists, a focus UNESCO is now engaging in.

Cross section of journalists, lawyers and diplomats at the network launch in Yaounde

The Media Freedom Network will operate closely with UNESCO in implementing it’s activities. The activities according to Ambassador Richard Bale, of Canada, will be designed subsequently after negotiations and consultations with the different parties concerned.

Journalist associations, including gender related and Inclusive associations, lawyers and diplomats converged at the network launch in Yaounde on November 1st 2021, at the residence of the Canadian High Commissioner in Bastos.


Those in attendance presented some challenges faced while on the field, with focus on access to information, their safety and intimidation from state authorities amongst others, hoping that the network will address these issues.

A Journalist, publisher practicing in Yaoundé, raised a concern about the kind of impression other Journalist may have about the Journalists' Committee in Cameroon, with reference to the case Wazzizi. 

"If that situation is not clarified, we will continue to loose the very best amongst us, who may abandon the practice for greener pastures elsewhere. I plead that there should be an observatory that can follow up on activities concerning Journalists to avoid consequences, while advocating for their rights, putting state officials in the know about this". Journalist.


Announcing the launch of the network, the Canadian High Commissioner to Cameroon, Richard Bale, tells press:

"This started two years ago and a decision was taken to estabilish local networks in 10 countries arround the world at pilot basis, with Cameroon being one of them.
Representatives of Journalists and media Associations that we are aware of, francophone and Anglophone associations, women Journalists associations, a great diversity".

"The launch of the network has given room to engage in discursions with media repesentatives about how they see their priority in the profession and as embassies we have a role we play. There are limitations to what we can and should do, we are conscious of that."

Ambassador Richard Bale, Canadian High Commissioner to Cameroon

He acknowledged that there is a vibrant media in Cameroon, "it is very dynamic, the role online journalist play at the front role. There is a challenge which we have to be able to advocate, in favour of granting Media freedom in which makes better governance" Richard Bale, Canadian High Commissioner.

Cross section of journalists, lawyers and diplomats at the network launch in Yaounde

This network intends to work towards the freedom of press in Cameroon, to serve as a tool to fight and end impunities for crimes against journalists, with emphasis made on crimes against Journalist within the confines of their profession -the media.

The network of embassies that came up with the initiative are represented by about 10 diplomatic missions in Cameroon, amongst 15 of them delving into this school of thought; on Media freedom and the safety of Journalists.

Amongst them Britain, Germany, France, USA all members of the global coalition for media freedom.



By Ndefru Melanie
ndefrumelany@gmail.com

678415536

    

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