Journalists and Communication Stakeholders are advocating for an amendment of certain provisions of Cameroon’s 1990 Press Laws, as well as the implementation of the of the 1990 provision of the law which guarantees the Access to Public Information and Records.
Meeting in Buea on March 24, in a seminar organised by AFRICAphonie with funding from the Foreign Commonwealth and Development office, the over 50 participants all stressed the need for some obnoxious laws regulating media practice and communication to be amended, to usher in a real free media era in Cameroon.
The seminar was characterised by conversations on the various thematic areas, led by presentations from aced media practitioners, like Charly Ndi Chia, Jesse Konang, Franklin Sone Bayen, and journalism trainer, Dr Kingsley Ngange, who also has field practice experience. The conversations bothered on certain provisions of Cameroon’s Law No. 90/052 of 19/12/1990 on freedom of mass communication in Cameroon, and Law No. 96/04 of 4/1/1996 amending and supplementing certain provisions thereof. It was also an avenue to act like a springboard for the media practitioners to advocate for the implementation of Section 49(1) of Law No. 90/052 of 19/12/1990 which guarantees Access to Public Information and Records.
At the end of discussions, the participants expressed the need for a real free press in Cameroon, that can act in the interest of the citizens and the country as a whole, by holding the powerful accountable and giving a voice to those who need it, for a better democratic society.
Communication and Journalism trainer, Dr Kingsley Ngange, who doubled as project Consultant, in his presentation, explored the gaps in the 1990 media law. In his presentation, he also proposed reforms that should be made to achieve greater press freedom. On his part, aced journalist, Charly Ndi Chia presented an oral testimony of his and his contemporaries’ professional experience operating with the various press laws that Cameroon has had. He urged journalists to be cautiously daring, and avoid been spoon-fed with ready information by people who want them to merely relay their propaganda all the time.
Jesse Konang on his side, presented on mainstreaming access to information in Cameroon’s freedom of expression, while Franklin Sone Bayen presented an oral testimony of professional experience on access to information. The presentations were followed by interactive sessions where, participants asked questions and made contributions to the various discussion topics bordering on media law.
At the end of the seminar, the media practitioners made various proposals on the ideal media laws they will want to have to guarantee a smooth practice of their trade. They were also handed a proposed Draft Freedom of Information law in Cameroon, to study, and make their comments or further proposals that will be used to lobby for a change of the media laws in Cameroon.