Dimanche, Juin 25, 2017

World Press Freedom Day 2017: “Media owners treat us poorly” journalists claim

World Press Freedom Day 2017: “Media owners treat us poorly” journalists claim

Limbe (Cameroon), The 3rd May 2017

By Bakah Derick in Limbe

Accusations of poor treatment of Journalists by owners of media organs have emerged from Limbe where over 35 journalists assembled to commemorate World Press Freedom Day 2017. The 3rd May 2017 come together organized by the United Nations Center for Human Rights and Democracy in Central Africa (UNCHRD-CA), United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNSECO) and the United Nations Information Center, was marked by a Round Table Conference which gave an opportunity for representatives of organizing institutions and the journalists present to reflect on the theme “Critical Minds for Critical Times: Media’s role in advancing peaceful, just and inclusive Societies.”

Reflecting on the theme and the Sub theme (Freedom of information, the right to Know), the journalists drawn from the North West, South West and Littoral regions castigated a majority of owners of media organs in Cameroon for outright disrespect of their employees. Apart from constant guidance to stay off information connected to their business and political partners, the journalists regretted that there is lack of social security protection. According to Comfort Mussa a Bamenda based journalists, many reporters for example sustained serious injuries during coverage of recent crisis in Bamenda but had to pay individually for their hospital bills and after recovery some returned to work with no compensation or were even fired. The lack of functional mobility facilities or service cars for staff, inadequate equipment, poor organization or structuring of the media organs, constant dependent on subvention amongst others lined up against the owners of media organs, besides the persisting problem of poor and irregular salaries.

The journalists on their part identified individual challenges which prevent them from doing quality reporting. Amongst the issues raised were poverty, egoism, lack of basic training, the spread of false information and misuse of social media by some and carelessness.

The government was also faulted for constantly stifling freedom of the press due to the lack of freedom of information laws. As a way forward, need has been expressed on continuous training with particular attention to online and thematic reporting, change of attitude towards money by journalists, decriminalization of press offences, and review of laws relating to creation of media organs amongst others.

Messages read at the event included those of the Secretary General of the United Nation Antonio Gutteres, Director General of UNESCO Irina Bokova and UN Human Rights Council Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression David Kaye. These messages were read out respectively by Mr. Jean Njita (UNIC), Mr. Ojong Cletus (UNESCO) and Mr. Ahowanou Agbessi (UNCHRD-CA Regional Representative).