Conflict Sensitive Reporting: NW Journalists Cautioned to Remain Resilient

Brainstorming during a one day workshop in Bamenda, Journalists have been adviced to keep to the tenets that guide the profession, while being resilient within the context of an armed conflict region. 

Journalists met on Tuesday 5 April 2022,as part of the Resiliency Project by the Bamenda based nongovernmental organisation Information Management and Support Services for Rural Development (IMSSRAD).

Discussing their resilience and safety as journalists while the practice the profession, Colbert Gwain, The Digital Rights Activists stated bluntly that no story was worth a Journalist life. 

"A Journalist must stay alive in order to be able to tell the story" and it is with this that Participants revealed ways they used to stay safe and alive in the course of covering the armed conflict. 

"Some stories are stored in the fridge and cannot be reported because it will only worsen the existing tension", said a Journalist.

Choves Loh explained that "stories of the crisis are best documented by those practicing on the spot. As news items about the crisis are unending, with best news headlines coming from the Northwest or Southwest regions and get the highest read".

Journalists on the field in the Northwest and Southweat region, being at the forefront of conflict reporting are said to be those who give meaning to what happens on the spot. Radio stations have shot down and some burnt, some limping; may be they lack adverts to sustain their stay or some reporters have left because of the crisis.

Tangwa Lawrence is a humourist, the radio where he practices in Ndop is shot down, but he remains a Journalist.

"In our resilience we can turn to be entertainers at weddings or other occassions. With the crisis, blogs have emerged. Some of these blogs operate because the contents cannot be done in statutory organs. In our way to be resilient we have developed new means to communicate, creating blogs. We have done our best to remain resilient and it is in a crisis that u know who is who as a Journalist in a media landscape".

In the course of an armed conflict, journalists deliver messages to serve as a panacea to those living in communities. Though with the existence of ghost towns, some  Journalists tell stories of how resistant they have remained while covering events. 

"The risk involved cannot be compared to the thirst of what goes to our pockets, we all strive in our own way to remain relevant", Choves Loh.

Toh Sylvester, Director of The IMSSRAD resiliency project revealed that the project is expected to run for 12months; September 2021 to September 2022 with the sponsorship of the Africa Regional  Democracy Fund (ARDF), with support from the Embassy of the United States of America with the aim of "assisting crisis prone neighbourhoods in the Bamenda III Council area of the North West Region to bounce back from shocks and stress and become more resilient."

By Ndefru Melanie
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