Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Cameroon’s media watchdog bans several FM Radio, TV programs and presenters

Bishop Befe Ateba
The National Communication Council held an ordinary session Wednesday 27th and Thursday 28th March, 2013 under the chairmanship of Bishop BEFE ATEBA and in the presence of all its members, in accordance with Article 11(1) of the Decree of January 23, 2012 on the reorganization of the NCC, which states that “the council shall seat permanently during the election campaign in order to ensure compliance with laws, the principle of fair and equal access of political parties, candidates or their representatives in the public media”.
The Secretary General of the NCC assured the secretary of the session with an agenda focused on the preparation of activities related to the conduct of the election of senators on April 14, 2013. The debates centered on the procedures of reviewing drafts of orders on the allocation of airtime to political parties in the public service audiovisual media expected from the Minister of Communications; the holding of a seminar on the capacity building of editors through a bilingual guide for journalists during an electoral period; the deployment of members of the Board in the ten regions of Cameroon in order to ensure compliance by the public and private media with the principles of transparency, pluralism and balance, and also control of the content of the media.
On this last point, the council adopted the following resolutions which bounded on three points:
First, the council, having noted with recurrence of broadcast on the following TV channels namely NEW TV, VISION 4, ARIANE TV, GOLDEN HOUSE, LTM and DBS on drug adverts, addresses a firm warning to the aforementioned media organs and requests owners to take immediate action to stop the broadcasting of such programs as proscribed by the law, in articles 24, 26, 27, 42 and 43 of Law N° 2006/018 of 29 December 2006 governing advertising in Cameroon, which states that “the advertising favouring health facilities and medical practices is prohibited through the press, radio and television… or by any other means of communication directed to the general public”.
This measure, which is consequent to several warnings of the Minister of Communication, the Cameroonian Medical Association and press releases issued by the President of the National Communication Council January 26, June 22, 2012 and March 8, 2013, aims to stop any media action which consist in undermining public health by exploitation of naivity and vulnerability of a certain social strata.
Secondly, the council based on a 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 March 27, 2013 large extracts of multilated and decaying bodies; violent and indecent images, definitively suspends the above referred programs, and temporarily suspends their presenters of every media talk shows.
The duration of the suspension, which takes effect as from the date of signature of the present resolution, is 06 months for AWILO, and 03 months for Mr. Ruben MALICK.
This measure is based on the provision of Article 32 of Decree N° 2000/158 of April 03, 2000 laying down the conditions and modalities for the establishment and operation of private audiovisual organs; and Article 9(2) of Decree N° 92/313/PM of September 24, 1992 enforcing the Code of ethics of journalists which states on the one hand that “the audiovisual communication enterprise must refrain from broadcasting scenes that undermine morality”, and secondly that the journalist “should not publish photographs of individuals outside public events without the consent of the latter”.
Thirdly, the council, speaking 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 Déballage, la viox des sans voix, Surface de Vérité, indefinitively bans the programs mentioned above and temporarily suspends their presenters from every media talk shows.
The duration of the suspension, which takes effect as from the date of signature of the present resolution, is 06 months for Mr. Duval EBALLE and 03 months for Messrs. Jean Jacques OLA BEBE, Claude YONG, Aimé Césaire ZAMBO, Hervé MFOULA.
Based on the aforementioned, the council addresses a special warning to the television channel Canal 2 International, following its consistent broadcast of violent and indecent programs.
Generally, the council cautions strongly all print, broadcast and online media against any such practice.
The council states, however, that the above control measures are not intended to undermine its function of promoting pluralistic and contradictory expression of a free press, which respects professional canons and ethical requirements.
Finally, as directed by the council, the promoters of radio stations and television channels concerned must ensure strict implementation of the present resolution without which appropriate sanctions will be meted out.
Yaounde the 28th of March 2013
The President of the National Communication Council
Bishop Joseph BEFE ATEBA

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