Mardi, Juin 27, 2017

English Speaking Journalists Armed For Elections Reporting in 2018

English Speaking Journalists Armed For Elections Reporting in 2018

Limbe (Cameroon), The 7th May 2017

BY TARHYANG ENOWBIKAH TABE

Limbe 7 May 20107 - With less than a year to the anticipated multifaceted elections in Cameroon in 2018, the United Nations Center for Human Rights and Democracy for Central Africa and its partners have already began training journalists on elections reporting. This training for English Speaking Journalists which was done in partnership with ELECAM and UNESCO took place in Limbe on 4 and 5 May 2017. The workshop was centered on the electoral code and the media’s role in promoting informed participation in the electoral process.

The workshop aimed to strengthen the knowledge of media professionals on the electoral code and other texts, policies and regulations governing the electoral process in Cameroon in a bid to enable them play an informed role in educating and sensitizing rights holders on their participation in the electoral process. Participants, drawn from the South West, Littoral and the North West Regions, took time to diagnose the Electoral Code as well as the Specific Provisions of the Election Monitoring Body, ELECAM. In focus group work, they examined in-depth the common provisions relating to the elections of the President of the Republic, Members of Parliament, Municipal Councilors and Referendums. The Media men and women were also interested in the provisions specific to vacancy of, and election to the Presidency of the Republic, the elections of Senators and Regional Councilors. They also focused on sections concerning vote by Cameroonians in the diaspora.

Enter ELECAM

With a perfect understanding of the provisions of the electoral code, the Journalists were ready to face the erudite and straight to the point, Tambe Tiku Christopher, Board Member of the Elections Management Body, ELECAM for clarity where doubts persists.

Tambe Tiku took time to respond to the questions raised by the journalists to their satisfaction and expressed the need for the media to work in collaboration with ELECAM to ensure better coverage of elections.

The Journalists quickly delved into the role of media professionals in promoting transparent, inclusive and peaceful elections in line with the UNCHRD-CA Elections reporting checklist, interpreting the electoral code from a Human Rights Perspective and a general discussion on the ethics and deontology principles in the electoral contexts. During this session, the presenter Fonyuy Kiven Timothy Franklin insisted on the need for journalists to master the text but also the environment within which they operate, modernize their newsroom practices and develop strategic coverage plans for periods like these.

The later part of the day focused on challenges faced by media professionals in elections coverage and the possible mitigation measures.

Quotes from Journalists

“Poverty of reporters illustrated by nonpayment of salaries, push reporters to collect money from political parties. The test of journalists is highest during critical timesEnglish Speaking Journalists Armed For Elections Reporting in 2018 like election period so other sources of funding should be sought” Tarhyang Tabe

“No effective electoral meeting, no effective election coverage plan, lack of technology and effective use of social media for fact checking etc.” Commy Musa

“Journalists don’t even know the ABC of journalism. They are doing Public Relations while others are organizing events. The sector has been invaded by charlatans and Quarks and this makes the practice difficult” Ambe Christopher

“Some Media Organs are owned by politicians thus reporters sacrifice their professionalism in trying to please their bosses and patrons” Nestor

“Hostile realities in the field prevent us from practicing under the canons of the profession” Frederick Takang

“All in All journalists must be assertive, if you can’t, quit” Kejang Henry

End Note from the UNCHRD-CA

“We have reached the end of the seminar workshop for media practitioners on the electoral code. We commemorated World Press Freedom Day on Wednesday and strengthened your reporting capacity on the electoral process these last two days. I hope your knowledge on the electoral code, goes a long way to improve your election reporting skills. The UN Center for Human Rights and Democracy will continue to accompany you. Please try your best to restitute the knowledge, share what you have learnt and be ambassadors of the UNCHRD-CA. Do not forget to train and build yourself always, for opportunities will always present themselves. As you learn and practice, live as if you were to die tomorrow, learn as if you were to live forever and do not forget to contribute in the electoral process in 2018”. Ahowanou Agbessi, Representative of The High Commissioner and Director of the United Nations Center for Human Rights and Democracy in Central Africa.