After a memorandum by North West journalists to the President of the Republic expressing their grievances on the gross marginalization of Anglophone journalists in Cameroon, North West Newspaper Publishers have written have issued another memo to North West CPDM bigwigs. In the memo, the Newspaper Publishers say, the so-called North West CPDM elite headed by Prime Minister Yang Philemon. Yang Philemon and Co are accused of blocking Anglophone media houses from state subventions. The memo further states that during the celebration marking the 50th anniversary of the Armed Forces in Bamenda, North West media houses and journalists were reduced to “les journalists locaux” while those imported from Yaounde and Douala were lodged, feed and taken care of by the state. Besides, the publishers during the meeting also noted with dissatisfaction that during the last 2011 Presidential elections, media houses of other regions were each given financial support ranging from 2 to 20 million FCFA, yet when it came to the North West Region, the elite told government they would take care. And in the final analysis, the highest media organ in the North West was given 500.000 FCFA while the least had 25.000 FCFA.
This, the Publishers say is part of the gross marginalization of Anglophones and maltreatment. Some alleged to have vowed that they would rather support the SCNC and not a government that doesn’t take into consideration their existence. They also vowed to turn their backs on government and would stage a demonstration to express their frustration. “If the state is giving funds to x, it should also give to y”, one publisher remarked.
When we recall that Thomas Jefferson in a letters to Edward Carrington on the importance of a free press to keep government in check, he concluded that if he had to choose between “a government without newspapers or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter”. The truth is that the so-called North West elite who camouflage as CPDM militants on the contrary see the press as an enemy when judged from what they say about the press. It is also alleged that PM Yang Philemon doesn’t see any reason while his Minister of Communication should give government funds to North West Region reasons why he has been mute on the issue.
Sources say tempers flared yesterday March 23, 2013 at the Ayaba Hotel when one CPDM elite (whose name I have just forgotten) made a statement that he hates journalists. “I hate journalists” he is quoted to have told journalists. This man who has never won any election for the CPDM in his own village, and yet parades self as one of those militants who has more than a million supporters behind him is a good example of the rancorous North West elite that continue to destroy President Biya’s vision for a free media in Cameroon. However, it is a promise that we are not only inside the skeleton cupboard of this man who declared publicly that he hates journalists, but we promise to bring to the public eye some of the items that makes him hates journalists. Notwithstanding, that is not our concern for now. Our concern is that North West Newspaper Publishers did not only promise to turn their backs on Government, CPDM elite but to stage a demonstration. Public opinion in the North West Region from what we gathered is in support of the decision by North West Journalists and Newspaper Publishers. More so, one of publisher name withheld hinted that the North West Newspaper Publishers Association has received motion of supports from colleagues of the Diasporas as well as human Rights organization. (a suivre)
Here below is the memo
Open Letter to North West CPDM Elite
Subject: Marginalisation of North West Print Media
Publishers have noted with dismay the continuous and systematic marginalization of North West newspapers by government and or elite.
- Considering the role of the print media in the harmonious development of our region which the elite are down playing;
- Conscious of the fact that our elite are determined to muscle the press of their own Region;
- Considering the sidelining of North West Print media organs during major national events like the 2010, 50th Anniversary of the Armed Forces and the 2011 Presidential election;
- Conscious of the fact that elite of other Regions are in constant support of their local print press; the elite of the North West Region are rather against their common good. English language are newspapers sidelined in the distribution of insertion from ministries;
- Aware of the fact that the MINCOM is reportedly disbursing support fund for upcoming Senatorial elections to exclusively French Language newspaper publishers;
- Considering the fact that President Biya is very committed to make sure that the press in Cameroon is free, vibrant in an advanced democracy where the press must play a role in the drive to an emerging economy in 2035;
We, North West newspaper publishers meeting in Bamenda today 22, March 2013 resolves as follows:
- To turn our backs on the CPDM / Government
- To express our grievances and frustration through public demonstration if by Monday, March 25, 2013 nothing is done to redress these grievances;
- To alert the international community on the unacceptable marginalization of English language newspaper publishers of the North West Region.
Done in Bda, March 22, 2013
· Dotta EZKIEL –Watchdog Tribune
· Eric Motomu-Chronicle
· Chifu Edward-The Vanguard
· Tamukong Roland-World Echoes
· Fai Cassian-The Eye
· Tim Finnian-Life Time
· Akam Eric-The Drum
· George Chifu-The Website
· Nde Richard Lanjong-The Herald Tribune
· Peterkings Manyong-The Independent Observer
When News Breaks Out, We Break In. Minute by Minute Report on Cameroon and Africa