Eight Journalists, Six Media Houses Suspended

Out of the eight petitions, the National Communication Council deferred its decision on the complaint by the Minister of Communication against three French language dailies.

The sledge hammer of the National Communication Council, NCC, has again fallen on some erring journalists, newspaper publishers and media houses in the country. Sequel to its 10th ordinary session on April 30, 2015, in Yaounde, the NCC Vice President, Peter Essoka, on June 5, 2015, released a detailed statement to the media announcing their decisions. In all, eight journalists, six media houses and a TV programme were banned for some time.

The affected media professionals and houses were punished for publishing what the Council considered as unbalanced information presented without bothering to crosscheck the details. This, according to it, constituted violations of professional ethics in mass communication. While most of the complaints were submitted by institutions and personalities, one was filed by a Yaounde-based radio presenter, Martinez Zogo.

The first of the eight petitions studied by the NCC was that by Afriland First Bank against ‘Le Renard’ newspaper. The paper and its publisher, Nestor Nga Etoga, were each suspended for six months for publishing “unfounded accusations that may be prejudicial to Afriland’s image” on February 19, 2015. The ‘Cameroon Herald’ newspaper and its publisher, Kingsley Ako Tanyi, were also slammed a six-month suspension each for making unsubstantiated corruption allegations in the 90th issue against Pamol Plantation Ltd and its Interim General Manager, Chief Mekanya Charles Okon.

Following a complaint NCC brought against ‘Afrique Media’ television’s programmes, ‘Le meacuterite panafricain’ and ‘Le deacutebat panafricain’ for allegations made in February and March 2015 by certain guests, the channel was suspended for a month. Meanwhile, Magne Tada Juliana and Mohammed Bachir Ladan, presenters of the two programmes, were banned for six months each for “repeated professional misconduct” characterised by lack of control over unjustified allegations by guests.

Douala-based LTM television’s ‘Town Cryer’ programme was not spared. The presenter, Awilo, and the programme were both banned for three months each for allegations made on March 17, 2015 that France was “supporting and providing arms to Boko Haram.” Famous Yaounde-based radio presenter, Martinez Zogo of Amplitude FM, filed a petition against ‘Climat Social’ newspaper, also based in the capital city, for tarnishing his reputation on March 4, 2015. After studying the complaint, the Council ruled in favour of Martinez, banning ‘Climat Social’ and the publisher, Mbombog Mbog Matip Emmanuel for six months each.

On the other hand, Oswald Baboke, Technical Aiser in the Civil Cabinet of the Presidency of the Republic, filed a petition against ‘Royal FM’ radio for allegations made in its programme, “Le deacutebat reacutepublicain” on February 2, 2015. The presenter accused Baboke of embezzling FCFA 15 million sent by the First Lady, Mrs. Chantal Biya, to Emmanuel Mbombog Mbog Matip. The Council suspended the radio and “Le deacutebat reacutepublicain’s” presenter, Martin Marcelin Ateba, for one and three months respectively for professional misconduct.

The Vanguard newspaper and publisher, Chifu Edward Chungfu, were banned for six months each. This followed the petition by Vincent Nji Ndumu, Government Delegate to the Bamenda City Council after the paper on February 9, 2015, accused him of mismanagement. Concerning the petition by the Minister of Communication, Issa Tchiroma Bakary, the National Communication Council postponed its study and decision on the application. The Minister had accused ‘Mutations’, ‘Quotidien Emergence’ and ‘Le Messager’ dailies of publishing unfounded photographs of President Paul Biya and baseless information on the health of the presidential couple in March 2015.

Source : Cameroon Tribune

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