The National Chairman of the Social Democratic Front (SDF) has condemned attacks on journalists and media houses in Cameroon while exercising their duties.
At a press lunch Thursday, February 11th, 2021, in Yaounde, Ni John Fru Ndi says “it’s unfortunate that journalists are arrested, jailed, and even killed in some cases simply because they stand up to the challenge of reporting facts as they see them”.
He adds that the criminalization of press offenses doesn’t give the press a free hand to act as the fourth estate of power that it is in regulating national behavior through whistleblowing.
To the leader of the SDF, the media, most especially the private ones, has been impoverished by the government who doesn’t compel government agencies to advertise in private media organs.
“Government pay a meager subsidy to some media houses. This makes them financially miserable and vulnerable for manipulation by the government,” he said.
Ni John Fru Ndi, since 1990 when the SDF was founded, has worked with journalists. To him, he has observed that those in the private press have no access to official state information that is not classified. The politician, therefore, recommends the respect of the “Freedom of information Act” to compel journalists to give state information to all journalists.
Addressing problems caused by journalists themselves, Fru Ndi regrets that anarchy has been installed with the creation of many media organs without any benchmark. To him, this has equally promoted fake news thereby undermining the role of journalists to investigate and report the facts and advance democratic principles.
The chairman, therefore, proposes the creation of the “Cameroon Order of Journalists ” to regulate the entire journalism profession in Cameroon by defining who should be a journalist.
This is Ni John Fru Ndi’s one rare official encounter with the press following his return from the USA.