The Governor of the South West Region, Bernard Okalia Bilai, issued a release on Tuesday, September 12, banning the publication and distribution of the bi-weekly newspaper, The Post, in the Region for an unspecified period of time.
Okalia Bilai attributed the ban to the newspaper’s “flagrant violation of professional norms governing mass communication”.
The Minister of Territorial Administration, Paul Atanga Nji, has ordered the ban in response to a recent front-page leak of The Post, whose lead story claimed that 66 percent of Cameroonians support a military coup.
This morning, the newspaper’s management released what it said was the authentic front page for that edition, stating that the previous one was circulated when the paper had not yet been finalised.
In a release issued this morning, The Post said it never intended to cause any harm or undermine national interest or public law and order, as the authorities claim.
In the meantime, the newspaper’s Director of Publication appeared before the National Communication Council this morning to explain the headline of the leaked front page.
The NCC is due to meet some sanctions on the media organ, according to a release signed by NCC’s President, Joseph Chebongkeng, on Monday.
The South West Governor’s release has been received with mixed feelings. Popular opinion holds that the Governor is making a mount out of a heap, given that The Post’s management has apologised for the leaked front page and did not print it.
Many also wondered why the ban was hastily slammed on the newspaper when the media watchdog, the NCC, is still to issue a verdict on The Post.