Private Press: Publishers meet and send out a cry of distress

Newspaper publishers in Cameroon  (FEDIPRESSE) have met to explore possible solutions to the different problems they encounter.

The meeting which took place in Yaounde this 24th May 2018 was occasion for the  President of FEDIPRESSE, Haman Mana to identify all the problems they are confronted with and ask Government for a consistent Public Aid to the Media.

The private press is faced with a catalogue of problems including:

Production and distribution difficulties most felt after MESSAPRESSE, the press distribution agency interrupted its contract with newspaper publishers

Late payment of advertisement bills

Delayed payment by subscribers

Little or no access to information, etc.

All of these problems have been made worse by the meagre assistance received as Government subvention to the private press by the Ministry of Communication.

A glaring example of the bad situation is the recent suspension of one daily, ‘Quotidien de l’Economie’ which crumbled in financial difficulties on 17th May 2018.

FEDIPRESSE frowned at the fact that, since the institution of the Public Aid to Private Media in 2002 and its application from 2003, very little or nothing has been done to assist the press.

The Publishers recalled that in 2016, members of FEDIPRESSE signed a memorandum calling for a reform institutionalising Public Aid to media organisations.

The memorandum stipulated, amongst other aspects that:

1. Public Aid to the Private Press should be guided by a law and not carried out by the Ministry of Communication that presently assists all actors in the broad domain of communication.

2. Parliament needs to adopt a special Five Billion CFAF package from State’s Budget for the private press. This is not up to the amount the private press in other African countries receive from their Government, FEDIPRESSE notes.

3. The creation of a special public aid regulatory organ to select those to receive the subvention.

The publishers resolved to continue to sensitise Government on the need to salvage the private press that makes an important contribution to the political and social advancement of Cameroon.

Eleanor Ayuketah

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