Crisis Management: CAMP provides tools on Safety and Protection for Journalists in crisis hit regions

The Cameroon Association of Media Professionals-CAMP  with head office in the Southwest region, thought it wise to bring together journalist practicing and living in crisis hit regions for a 2 day brainstorming session. This was to discuss how best these journalists can keep safe and still tell their stories.

The project which is an initiative, implemented by CAMP with support from the Canadian High Commission, brought together over 30 journalists to take part in a training centered on safety and protection during periods of crisis. To most of the journalists, the subject is not new to them but for more tools that CAMP had to deliver, through the expertise of a facilitator Kiven Franklin.

Kiven schooled journalists on the importance of staying safe while reporting during period of crisis, outlining a few tips on precautions that could be taken while on the field, while emphasizing on the need to plan before embarking on a conflict zone. 

"You should have a preliminary information about the ongoing conflict, you should take note of every object you see on the field. Journalists should learn to always fact check, learn to always speak the truth at all times. Journalists should not leak leads to their your resource persons. One thing remarkable in 2021 was the least dead of journalists". 

Participants in attendance had to share their experiences, an exercise that also served as a learning experience for some and a relief pill for others who work in very difficult conditions. Not everyone in the room had same experience, some others did not have a clue of what it takes to report within a crisis context. Some others describe it as a nostalgic feeling, others say scary, daring, demanding. These and more did not kill the zeal to practice and do what is expected at every time. 

Gilla Everdine is a journalist writing for The Herald Tribune in the Northwest region and member of the cohort 7 African Factchecking Fellow program with Defyhatenow Cameroon. She says reporting in a crisis hit region has never been easy because parties in conflict can target a journalist. "The parties in conflict think you are spying on them whereas you are doing your job as a journalist. sources too sometimes refuse to talk for fear of being targeted". She picked up new words from the training and equally made the difference with some.

Tasi Peter reports with The Municipal Updates in Bamenda, he acknowledge some thing new came out from the workshop, "keeping close contact with people living in more hostile areas before delving into the site for reporting". To him it is important to have and keep local contacts, before and after a mission. Tasi Peter is very interested in advocating to get things right within the core, while practicing as a journalist.

"Access to information is a big problem. With this barrier, work becomes more difficult. This is being observed in the course of the Anglophone crisis and as the crisis persist, even news sources pose a problem. Not everyone is willing to give out information to journalists, as most of them are scared. Information gathering is a problem and so processing it is a huge challenge. Authorities most times do not give journalists access to information they need to complete their news. All these bottlenecks in a crisis region is enough to make work difficult".

Information has it that statistics of journalists taken hostage stands at 165 and 46 killed. Journalists and collaborators behind bars are 488 in number, being worldwide statistics from 1995 to 2021. The highest was registered in the year 2013: 212 taken hostage with 147 killed and 143 behind bars.

Journalists should use advocacy to make their voices heard, which could be done in the form of research and analysis, Network and alliances, campaigning. With strategic advocacy, this could help target audience better.

By Ndefru Melanie

CivicLens delivers the news as it is and provides solutions for common workflows, engage citizens in up to date Information, while maintaining a secure system of record for assets and activities, improving service delivery, and increasing citizen satisfaction.

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