The recent launch of Cameroon’s PRC TV, a television station dedicated to commemorating President Paul Biya’s 41-year reign, has sparked a flurry of contrasting reactions. As one of the world’s longest-serving leaders, President Biya’s continued presence remains a subject of intense scrutiny and debate.
PRC TV: A Dubious Endeavour
The introduction of PRC TV by the Cameroonian government has raised serious questions about the allocation of resources in a country facing numerous pressing issues. This decision has stirred controversy, particularly in light of the existing state-owned media outlet, CRTV, which has consistently portrayed President Biya and his government in a favourable light. The investment in yet another state-owned media venture has left many wondering if these funds could be more effectively used elsewhere.
As the Minister Director of the Civil Cabinet, Samuel Mvondo Ayolo, pointed out in the communiqué, PRC TV’s primary purpose is to showcase the “enthusiasm and fervour with which the Cameroonian people celebrate, in unison, the works of President Paul Biya.” This focus on celebrating a single leader’s achievements raises questions about whether state resources should be dedicated to such a singular endeavour when the country faces a myriad of challenges.
Neglected Private Press
The glaring disparity between the support extended to state-owned media and the neglect of the private press in Cameroon has not gone unnoticed. Private media outlets have long struggled to stay afloat, and some have been forced to shutter their operations due to a lack of financial backing. The juxtaposition of substantial investment in a new state-owned media platform with the ongoing disregard for the private press highlights a glaring imbalance in the country’s media landscape.
As Melissa Mbuh lamented, “The funds used to create this TV station could be used as subsidies for the private press in Cameroon, which seems to be going through a lot. I am still wondering why the government had to invest in such a project while the private media is in dire need of their support.”
Public Outcry and Calls for Change
The launch of PRC TV has provoked a wave of public outcry and has become a focal point of criticism, particularly on social media platforms. A substantial segment of the Cameroonian populace has seized this opportunity to demand President Biya’s resignation, citing his decades-long rule and the pressing need for younger, more dynamic leadership in the nation. This vocal discontent underscores the growing demand for a change in leadership and governance in Cameroon.
As Kah Ponde emphatically stated, “41 years in power? Let him leave in peace na. We need a young and charismatic president now. He can’t take Cameroon anywhere. He has done a lot right so it’s time to go. One and the same people can’t do any good in this country anymore.”
Frank Bwele, expressing his disillusionment with the government’s priorities, declared, “It is unfortunate that the presidency of the republic is focusing its efforts on initiatives that do not address the pressing issues facing our nation. It’s really deplorable!”
Contemplating the Future
While President Paul Biya’s 41-year rule is a testament to his enduring influence, it raises critical questions about the government’s priorities. The launch of PRC TV necessitates a thorough and critical examination of resource allocation, media diversity, support for the private press, and the pressing need for responsive and accountable governance. The trajectory of Cameroon’s future will be profoundly impacted by how these issues are addressed in the years ahead.