Capacity-building : After Ngaoundéré and Douala, Bafoussam will host a three-day workshop on media coverage of elections and the promotion of peaceful elections in Cameroon
Over 30 journalists from Northwest, Southwest and West regions will be participating in a three-day capacity building workshop on media coverage of elections and the promotion of peaceful elections in Cameroon, from 10 to 12 July, in Bafoussam. Discussions will be focused, among other things, on issues related to ethics and deontology of journalism; regulation and self-regulation; balanced treatment of information during electoral period; the principles of nonsexist / gender sensitive communication in the electoral process; social media practices; etc. Sessions will be enriched by practical exercises which would allow participants to gain knowledge and share experiences with regards to elections coverage and, in particular, according to an approach based on respect for human rights and the promotion of peace.
The Bafoussam workshop takes place few days after that organized in Douala (3-5 July) and which brought together thirty media professionals from the Centre, South and Littoral regions. During the opening ceremony, Mr. Kisito Ngankak, Director of the Development of Private Media and Advertising at the Ministry of Communication, described the workshop as “timely and critical”. Speaking on behalf of the Minister of Communication, he also reminded journalists not to be partisan during elections. “You must shun corruption which sometimes push you to the fringes of impartiality and bias reporting”, cautioned Mr. Jean Njita of the UN Information Centre, representing the Resident Coordinator of the United Nations System in Cameroon.
Journalism for Peace and for Sustainable development
Participants have unanimously welcomed the training and agreed to make good use of experiences and lessons learned in order to promote peace before, during and after elections in Cameroon. In this regard, they have adopted two key documents: “The Code of good conduct for journalists and media during electoral period” and “The Douala Declaration”. In these documents, they acknowledged the risks and threats to social peace that can be provoked by news articles and programs which do not obey the principles and tannates of balanced and impartial treatment of information. They therefore engaged "to promote peace journalism and to work with complete independence and responsibility, in favour of sustainable development".
The Acting Regional Delegate for Communication (Littoral), Ms. Sandrine Ngodi, expressed her satisfaction with the quality and scope of the documents adopted. In the concluding remarks of the UN System, Mr. Norbert N. Ouendji, Head of the Strategic Communications and Public Information Unit of UNOCA, have congratulated journalists for their commitments and underlined that the United Nations will provide the assistance requested for the implementation of some of the main points of their “Declaration”.
The Douala and Bafoussam workshops come on the heels of the first, organized in Ngaoundere, with participants drawn from the East and three Northern regions of Cameroon (Adamaoua, Far North and North). Other similar workshop will be organized in Mbalmayo from 26 to 28 July for facilitators and officials of community radio stations.
The workshops are jointly organized by the United Regional Nations Office for Central Africa (UNOCA) based in Libreville (Gabon), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women), the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the United Nations Centre for Human Rights and Democracy in Central Africa (UNCDH-CA), the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) and the United Nations Residence Coordinator’s Office in Cameroon. Elections Cameroon (ELECAM), the National Communication Council (NCC), Ministries of External Relations, Communication, and Women’s empowerment provide an important support for the success of this important capacity-building activity.