Communication Council Suspends 7 Journalists, Bans Tradi-practitioners’ Adverts

 

 

Members Of National Communication Council in Group Picture

Members Of National Communication Council in Group Picture


 The National Communication Council, NCC, has suspended seven journalists for unethical practices. This is one of the resolutions the Council took after a two-day session that ended on Thursday, March 28, in Yaounde.


The NCC also slammed a ban on adverts on tradi-practitioners and their products. The decision is in tandem with articles 24, 26, 42 and 43 of Law No 2006/018 of December 29, 2006. The decisions are contained in a communiqué the NCC Chair, Mgr. Joseph Befe Ateba, published at the end of the meeting.


After examining the health of the country’s media landscape, the Council took great exception to certain television programmes that air indecent images. It singled out one programme on Canal 2 International, known as Canal Detective, and IPP News on LTM television, as the best examples of what journalism should not be. NCC members agreed that the presenters of such programmes have been toying with professional ethics for too long.

 

They noted that on March 21 and 27; obscene pictures of mutilated corpses in an advanced stage of decomposition as well as other violent images were broadcast on the two programmes. It was on the strength of these facts that the NCC suspended the presenters of IPP News on LTM TV, Awilo, for six months, and the presenter of Canal Detective, Ruben Malick, for three months.


The suspension is hinged on the provisions of article 32 of decree No 2000/158 of April 3, 2000, that borders on conditions and modalities for the creation and running of private audio visual media organs. The NCC equally predicated the suspension on the Prime Ministerial Decree No 92/313/PM of September 24, 1992, on the code of ethics for journalists.


The Council also condemned Youth FM, Amplitude FM and Sky One Radio in Yaounde for violating professional ethics. These radio stations use programmes such as Deballage, La Voix des Sans Voix and Surface de Verité to flout professional ethics. The Council banned such programmes indefinitely.


The Council’s regulatory axe equally fell on the presenters of the programmes. In this light, one Duval Eballe of Youth FM was suspended for six months. While Jean Jacques Ola Bebe of Amplitude FM, Claude Yong, Aime Cesaire Zambo and Hervé Mfoula will wallow in limbo for three months. During the period of their suspension, they are expected not to go on air. The Council equally warned New TV, Vision 4, Ariane TV, Golden House, LTM and DBS against advertising tradi-practitioners and their products.


While reacting to the Council’s decision, the Secretary General of the Commonwealth Journalists Association, CJA, Cameroon Chapter, John Mbah Akuroh, saluted the NCC, saying it was long overdue. “The decision to give last warning to newspapers against advertising tradi-practitioners is long overdue. It borders on the health of Cameroonians,” he said.


According to him, the suspension of journalists and every other decision the NCC took was laudable because they have been violating the law and professional ethics with impunity for too long. While promising that CJA will denounce such practices, he said the warning should also go to the owners of news organs. He urged journalists to give facts on issues of public interest and stop prying into people’s private lives.


Reacting to the ban of the adverts on tradi-practitioners, the publisher of the Guardian Post newspaper, Christian Ngah, described it as a ploy to kill the private media in Cameroon.
To him, adverts from tradi-practitioners are the main source of income for many news media organs and banning would mean a ban on their livelihood. “This is unfair because we do not have official advertisements. So, how are we going to survive?” he wondered.

Guide For Journalists

The NCC ended its session with the publication of a guide for journalists in the electoral period. The guide prescribes fairness and impartiality for journalists covering the April 14 Senatorial elections.


Among other things, the guide cautions journalists to understand that only the Constitutional Council has the right to declare results. It urges private sector media to report on the development of the campaign and electoral operations in the course of usual news broadcasts and through programmes dedicated to the political marketing of candidates who so wish.

By Yerima Kini Nsom