|Tabe is one of the two female voices in the commission|
The nine-member commission, sources at the Ministry of Communication say, would have only one item on its agenda; propose names to the Prime Minister, one of who the Premier will appoint as the group’s chair.
Article 3 of Prime Ministerial Decree N° 2002/2170/PM of December 9, 2002 which lays down conditions for the issuing of press cards, states that the commission’s chair is appointed by a Prime Ministerial decree, following proposals from its members.
The press cards commission is charged with defining who a journalist is and awards press cards to journalists and journalism support staff. Set up in the early 2000s, the commission slipped into inactivity for years following disagreements over its decisions.
When, under the aegis of Richard Ekoka Sam Ewande (former director of Radio Cameroon), its members deliberated on press cards for the first time, a popular comic Tchop Tchop who at the time worked for Equinoxe Radio in Douala, was among the first persons to be awarded press cards. The then chairperson had once served as director of Equinoxe Radio.
Only three Anglophones, just two women!
Of the nine members appointed by Communication Minister, Issa Tchiroma Bakary to the commission last May 18 there are three English-speaking journalists; Chief Zachee Nzoh Ngandembou, CEO of Eden Media Group and president of the Newspaper Publishers’ Association of Cameroon (NEPAC), Tabe Enonchong of the Cameroon Radio Television and Yerima Kini Nsom, Yaounde bureau chief of The Post Newspaper.
However, critics say the commission is merely one of government’s limbs because only two of the nine members, Ngandembou and Kini, are from the private media.
Also, the fact that government Ministries are represented in the committee, according to most observers, makes the body look like an organ of the ruling CPDM.
The Ministry of Communication, for example, is represented in the team by Dr. Mabou Mabou, a fervent supporter of the ruling party. The Ministries of Territorial Administration and Justice will be represented by Irenée Yves Assala and Benoît Placide Mevoua respectively.
The commission will begin deliberations when its president would have been appointed. According to the law, the commission holds ordinary sessions at least once on a quarterly basis upon convocation. The commission can also meet in an extraordinary sessions if its chairman or two thirds of its members deem it necessary.
By Ndi Eugene Ndi