Saturday, March 30, 2013

NCC Expands Control Over Media, Dishes out Sanctions Journalists, Media Outlets

 By Fai Cassian
Censorship they say is just like a double-edge sword because if used properly, it serves as a valuable weapon, yet it can also be misused silence dissenting voices. Censorship may have many technical and legal repercussions. In other words, Governments and other regulatory institutions must learn to use it judiciously so as to control of the influx of information and ideas in society. Both democratic and non-democratic countries use it. With the explosion of communication technology, it has become all-pervasive for control mechanisms reasons why Cameroon government found it necessary to create the Communication Council. However, a recent move by the National Communication Council –NCC (Cameroon) leaves many wondering whether censorship is good or bad. It decision to suspend  programs on television, radio, and putting newspapers and online publications on guard as attracted a lot of public debate.
In its recent action, NCC dolled out sanctions on programs as well as some presenters of audio-visual private media houses in Cameroon. The suspensions according to a communiqué by NCC on March 28, 2013 range from three to six months depending on the gravity.  Canal 2, New Tv, Vision 4, Sky one Radio, Golden House, Arien TV, LTM, Youth FM were the first that fell on the hammer of the National Communication Council.  Sources say NCC is aghast with some of these channels for promoting the activities of tradi-practitioners yet another source hinted that NCC has been transformed into a slaughter house by some few individuals who are settling scores with their enemies. NCC however suspended two TV programs, namely IPP News and Canal Detective for lack of professionalism and social responsibilities.  NCC however places on guard the print media and the electronic media in Cameroon for their excesses. It is feared that the same sanctions will befall newspapers as well as electronic media. More so, TV channels advertising drugs (NEW TV, VISON 4, ARIANE TV, GOLDEN House, LTM and DBS TV) were warned to stop the broadcasting of such programs.
According to confidential sources, the council based on the constant drift observed in the broadcast by Canal 2 International and LTM of programs entitled "Canal detective" and IPP News that was projected on March 21 and 27, 2013 large extracts of mutilated and decaying bodies; violent and indecent images. Judging from the images, NCC we learnt decided to suspend the above referred programs and temporarily suspends their presenters of every media talk shows, the release that sanctioned the two day meeting states:
Awilo, presenter of the IPP News has been suspended for six months while Ruben Malick, presenter of Canal detective has been suspended for three months.
On violations of ethics and professional conduct perpetrated in daily programs broadcast by radio stations YOUTH FM, AMPLITUDE FM, and SKY ONE RADIO respectively entitled Deballage, la voix de sans viox, surface de verite, NCC also banned the programs mentioned above and temporarily suspended their presenters from every media talk shows, the release indicated.
It should be noted that at the end of the meeting, NCC also published a plan to screen and control the activities of the media during the April 14, 2013 Senatorial elections; it also includes a journalist guide and claims it will ensure that all political parties have equal time on public Medias.

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