Journalists representing Central African countries convened in Douala, Cameroon, to develop a roadmap aimed at effectively combating hate speech. Approximately thirty journalists from Cameroon, Chad, Equatorial Guinea, Congo Brazzaville, Gabon, the Central African Republic, and Sao Tome and Principe participated in the Regional Conference of Journalists and Media Professionals of Central Africa.
The United Nations Regional Office for Central Africa (UNOCA) and the United Nations Center for Human Rights and Democracy in Central Africa (CNUDHD-AC), facilitated the event. This was done in collaboration with the Cameroonian government. The conference focused on evaluating and advocating for support of the regional strategy to combat hate speech, incitement to hatred, and violence.
During the conference, the journalists deliberated on actions necessary for the adoption and implementation of the regional strategy against hate speech. In a two-page document representing the conference’s recommendations, the journalists commended the inclusive and participatory consultations that contributed to the development of the strategy. These consultations took place during Awareness Forums held in Douala, Cameroon (October 26-29, 2021), Bangui, Central African Republic/CAR (April 26-29, 2022), Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo/DRC (June 21-24, 2022), and Yaoundé, Cameroon (July 5-7, 2023).
Expressing their enthusiasm for the upcoming Regional Forum of Ministers of Communication and Information of ECCAS member countries scheduled for December 14–15, 2023, in Bangui, the journalists aimed at examining and pre-validating the regional strategy and plan of action for preventing and responding to hate speech and incitement to violence.
The journalists called on the Cameroonian delegation participating in the Ministerial Forum to ensure the consideration of their recommendations during the proceedings in Bangui. They reiterated their commitment to collaborating closely with all stakeholders to promote peace, social cohesion, and harmonious coexistence within their respective countries and among the people of Central Africa.
At the closing ceremony, the document containing the conference’s recommendations was officially handed over to the representative of Cameroon’s Minister of Foreign Affairs.