Media practitioners in Cameroon have discussed current media challenges during a Press Luncheon, organized by the National Communication Council (NCC).
The event held in Yaounde this Wednesday June 2 on the theme “ The economic viability of the media in Cameroon”.
NCC’s President, Peter Essoka chaired the 2-hour event which featured three presentations from seasoned journalists and publishers;
-Haman Mana , Publisher of the Daily Newspaper “Le Jour” talked about “The Problem of the Economic Viability of the Media”.
-Séverin Tchounkeu, CEO of “La Nouvelle Expression” Group, and President of the National Press Card Commission discussed “policies and economic measures to assist the private press in Cameroon.
-Alain Blaise Batongue, Journalist, Former Executive Secretary of GICAM and Former President of UPF examined “State aid to the private press : role, importance and comparative elements with other African countries”.
The media persons identified a wide range of current challenges . The President of the NCC particularly sited three key economic challenges;
-The absence of an efficient means of distribution of the press which makes it difficult to market its output.
-The absence of a complete regulatory framework to rationalize the conditions of equal access to publicity, as the implementing decrees provided for in the law of 29 December 2006 governing publicity in Cameroon are yet to be adopted
-The inefficiency of the current system of state support to private media
Solutions from within
In response to the media practitioners who requested that government steps up government aid, the NCC president said “You do not create media organs hoping that government will support. It must be your firm and you should be ready to take economic responsibility for the structure”
Peter Essoka , NCC president
Stakeholders agreed that it is important for the press to be viable in order to run its affairs. Séverin Tchounkeu, CEO of “La Nouvelle Expression” Group, and President of the National Press Card Commission told media organs “We are entrepreneurs, we can’t run the press without financial stability. If affects the quality of work you do”.
Another important issue raised during discussions is the need of revise the 1990 Press laws which are obsolete, 31 years after they were instituted.
Once again, stakeholders stressed on the respect of ethical standards of the journalism profession.
“The written press is facing stiff competition from WhatsApp, Twitter and Facebook news organs. The private press can’t work as before. Regardless, we should strictly respect the ethics and deontology code”. Haman Mana, Publisher of the Daily Newspaper “Le Jour”
Peter Essoka, NCC President says issues discussed during the Press Luncheon will be channeled to the government .
Kathy Neba Sina