Press Freedom Day – the Media and Armed Conflict

The 2015 Press Freedom Day was commemorated in the country yesterday with focus on proper war reporting.

The 22nd World Press Freedom Day was marked in Cameroon yesterday, May 3, 2015, with a few activities in some parts of the country. However, there was a diminished role for the Ministry of Communication. Speaking to media representatives in Yaounde on April 9, 2014, Minister Issa Tchiroma Bakary announced that practitioners will as from this year organise events to mark the day.

In Yaounde, the “Syndicat national des journalists du Cameroun,” SNJC, held an event at the Independence Square opposite the City Council where they read out the statement of the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, urging the respect of press freedom all over the world. Members of the same association met at the “Place du gouvernement” in Bonanjo, Douala, where they read out another statement calling for the improvement of working conditions of journalists. The “Feacutedeacuteration des eacutediteurs de presse du Cameroun,” yesterday at the Yaounde Hilton Hotel organised a discussion on “The journalist in armed conflict situation.” It was facilitated by Patrick Fandio of TF1 television.

In Bamenda, the Cameroon Association of English-speaking Journalists, CAMASEJ, organised an event to mark the day as the Governor of the North West Region, Adolphe Lele Lafrique, installed the new Regional Delegate for Communication, Louis-Marie Begne. Meanwhile, members of the Cameroon Anglophone Publishers Association, CANPA, also celebrated the day in Bamenda, discussing among others, the 2014 Anti-terrorism Act and Cyber journalism.

Meanwhile, the leadership of the National Communication Council, NCC, is in Ngaoundere in the Adamawa Region to meet journalists of the three northern regions (Adamawa, North and Far North). Today, May 4, 2015, the team will visit media organisations in Ngaoundere, and hold a one-day seminar on Wednesday, May 6, 2015, on the challenges of covering armed conflicts. Back in Yaounde, the Network of Cameroonian Journalists on Decentralisation, RCJD, will this morning at the Djeuga Palace Hotel hold a discussion on “The Attitude of Journalists Towards Decentralisation.” According to RCJD President, Blaise Testelin Nana, speakers at the event will include the Minister of Communication, Issa Tchiroma Bakary, seasoned public administrators, journalists and legal luminaries.

The international theme for this year’s Press Freedom Day as chosen by UNESCO is: “Let Journalism Thrive! Towards Better Reporting, Gender Equality and Media Safety in the Digital Age.” The day is intended to celebrate the fundamental principles of press freedom, evaluate press freedom around the world, defend the media from attacks on their independence and pay tribute to fallen colleagues. The World Press Freedom Day was proclaimed by the UN General Assembly in 1993 following a recommendation adopted at the 26th Session of UNESCO’s General Conference in 1991. This in turn was a response to a call by African journalists who in 1991 produced the landmark Windhoek Declaration on Media Pluralism and Independence.

Source : Cameroon Tribune

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