Category Archives: Training Workshop

Capacity Building Workshop on media coverage of elections and the promotion of peaceful elections in Cameroon in Bafoussam

Over 30 journalists from Northwest, Southwest and West regions participated 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, Capital of the West Region.

Discussions and presentations 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. Sessions were also enriched by practical exercises which allowed participants to gain knowledge and share best practices and experiences with regards to elections coverage, most especially, through an approach based on the respect for human rights and the promotion of peace.

The workshop was a UN’s response to the many calls expressed by journalists themselves, showing their determination to not only acquire new knowledge and experience in their field, but also their determination to contribute to the success of the upcoming elections.

Mr. Jean Jacques Massina-Landji, co-Chair of the UNCG, representing the UN Resident Coordinator in Cameroon, in his opening note stated that “for three days, these journalists will be tutored on the role of the media in the prevention, crisis management and violence during electoral periods, human rights issues related to elections as well as gender, democracy, peace and security,…elections are indeed crucial moments in the democratic life of a nation. Their transparency is fundamental in the context of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in which one of the Goals, Goal 16 is dedicated to the promotion of peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, the provision of access to justice for all, and building effective, accountable institutions at all levels.”.

Mrs. Wandji Elsa, Regional Chief of Legal Affairs at the Delegation of Communication, representing the regional delegate and thus, Representative of the Minister of Communication, noted that workshops of this magnitude are rare and called on all present to take the opportunity given them to build their capacities on electoral reporting. According to her, information that will be disseminated by the journalists would push citizens to make informed choices instead of manipulations that would incite disorder.  

At the end of the workshop, the Journalists unanimously agreed to promote peace before, during and after elections in Cameroon. They adopted two key documents: “The Code of good conduct for journalists and media during electoral period” and “The Bafoussam Declaration”. In these documents, participants acknowledged the risks and threats to social peace that can be provoked by news articles and programs which do not obey the principles and tenets 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 workshop was jointly organized by the United Nations Regional Office For Central Africa (UNOCA), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and Empowerment of the Women (UN-WOMEN), United Nations Educational, Scientific and cultural Organization (UNESCO), United Nations Center for Human Rights and Democracy, Central Africa, United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) and United Nations Residence Coordinator’s Office in Cameroon.

Capacity-building workshop on media coverage of elections and the promotion of peaceful elections in Cameroon in Douala

A 3-day capacity-building workshop on media coverage of elections and the promotion of peaceful elections in Cameroon was organized in Douala from 3-5 July 2018, and 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, UNIC’s NIO, representing the Resident Coordinator of the United Nations System in Cameroon.

Participants 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 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 Douala workshop came 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). similar workshop will be organized in Bafoussam journalists from the West, North West and South West Regions and Mbalmayo (26 -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), Ministry of External Relations, Ministry of Communication, and Ministry of  Women’s empowerment and the Family provide an important support for the success of this important capacity-building activity.

Sensitization workshop for Journalists on the electoral code on the occasion of World Press Freedom Day 2017

UNIC Yaounde in partnership with the United Nations Centre for Human Rights and Democracy in Central Africa and UNESCO organized a series of activities at the Hotel Inn Resort in the coastal city of Limbe, South West Region of Cameroon to mark World Press Freedom Day 20017 in Cameroon from the 3 to 5 May 2017. The crux of the observance was the sensitization workshop for over 35 media professionals in Cameroon on the electoral code and their role in promoting informed participation in electoral processes, ahead of elections in 2018 in Cameroon.

  •  Round table conference on: 2017 WPFD theme, Freedom of Information, the right to know,
  • Panel Discussion on “How to overcome challenges to media freedom
  • Sensitization workshop for media professionals in Cameroon on the electoral code

 Day 1: Wednesday, 03 May 2017

Round table conference on: 2017 WPFD theme, Freedom of Information, the right to know

Moderated by Tarhyang Tabe, Publisher of “The Advocate” Newspaper, the round table began with the reading of the UN messages on the occasion of the 2017 WPF Day. UNIC’s Jean Njita read the message of the UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, who called for an end to all crackdowns against journalists – because a free press advances peace and justice for all.” UNESCO’ Cletus Ojong (Communications) read the message of Mrs Irina Bokova (UNESCO’s Director General), while the Director of UN Centre for Human Rights Mr Ahowanou Agbessi read the message of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. This set the pace for the round table.

UNIC’s Jean Njita presented the 2017 WPFD theme; “Critical Minds for Critical Times: Media’s role in advancing peaceful, just and inclusive societies”, highlighting the fact that living in such a critical time for journalists and press freedom, critical times require critical minds to better know what we read, listen and watch. Mr Njita emphasized media’s contribution to good governance and development as recognized in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development; which outlines the importance of public access to information and fundamental freedoms under SDG 16; Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels. Citing the 2016 UN Report on the Safety of Journalists and the Danger of Impunity, he stressed that the current state of safety of journalists worldwide is discouraging, as over the course of the last decade 827 journalists and media workers have been killed.

Mr. Franklin Fonyuy Kiven, Communications Officer at the UN Human Rights Centre talking on “Freedom of Information, the right to know”, stated that Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights identifies freedom of expression as a fundamental right. He further quotes The World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) Declaration of Principles adopted in 2003, which affirms that “everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; that this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers. Communication is a fundamental social process, a basic human need and the foundation of all social organisation”.

Panel Discussion on “How to overcome challenges to media freedom

Panelists included CTRV’s Comfort Musa, UNIC’s Jean Njita, Adolf Mongo Dipoko (seasoned journalist), Kwi Bangsi and Tarhyang Tabe (The Advocate Newspaper), with debates moderated by Franklin Fonyuy. These panelists identified Inadequate funding, Access to Information; Charlatanism; Poor payment of staff, weak Professional associations, etc…as some of several challenges crippling the media landscape in Cameroon.

The media law no.90/052 of December 19, 1990 on Mass Communication in its Section 46(1) states: “A person shall be deemed to be a journalist where, on the basis of his intellectual faculties, his training and talents, he is recognized as being fit to carry out research and process information intended for mass communication.” This Cameroonian definition of a journalist has paved the way for quacks to infest the profession, casting lots of doubts on ‘who is who’ in the profession. Some of them don’t know the ABC of journalism, and often commit all kinds of professional errors. Though the law on Freedom on Mass Communication gives Journalists the right to access information, Cameroon journalists have lots of difficulties to get sensitive information giving room for speculations and falsehood in some reports. The proliferation of Professional Associations further weakens the sector, with the lack of a credible interlocutor for all journalists.

At the end, and as a way forward to overcoming the challenges, participants and panelists recommended the urgent need for a clear entry requirement for all journalists as in other professional bodies; merger of association for journalists, strengthened and oriented towards professional needs, training on new media, media security, thematic reporting; (peace, cultural, documentaries, etc) , as well as taking advantage of electronic information dissemination through blogs, online publication, whatsapp, facebook etc…

Day II: Thursday 04 May 2017

Sensitization workshop for media professionals in Cameroon on the electoral code

In 2018, Cameroon is expected to hold major elections; municipal, parliamentary, senatorial, and presidential, making it an important electoral year in the history of the country. The Elections Management Body; ELECAM has intensified efforts towards raising awareness of Cameroonians on their civic responsibility, particularly the need to enroll in the electoral registers, and also participate actively in the voting process. That notwithstanding, there is need for more targeted measures to ensure that these efforts produce an impact on the ground.

It is against this backdrop that UNIC Yaounde, UNESCO and UN Centre for Human Rights embarked on this sensitization workshop to strengthen the knowledge of media professionals on the electoral code and other texts, policies and regulations governing the electoral process in Cameroon in a bid to enable them play an informed role in educating and sensitizing rights holders on their participation in electoral processes. Participants were introduced to the Cameroon Electoral code mostly an overview of the general provisions and provisions specific to the Elections Management Body. They were divided into commissions to work on specific sub-themes, which ended up with restitution and sharing of facts with others.

These subthemes included;

  1. General provisions related to the Elections Management Body
  2. Provisions relating to the election of President of the Republic and Vacancy
  3. Election of members of Parliament
  4. Election of municipal councilors

At the end of the work in commissions, participants enthusiastically shared /restituted their understanding of some sticky issues related to electoral code, to the happiness of all.

 Lesson:

It is of vital importance for media practitioners to get acquainted with the Cameroon electoral code and other texts, policies and regulations governing the electoral process in preparation to the 2018 upcoming presidential elections in Cameroon. Taking into consideration the fact that the fundamental role of journalists, as one of the key players in the election is to promote transparency, inclusive and peaceful elections, journalists are therefore called to do proper findings of information backed with fact before any publication, be it audiovisual or script writing. In so doing, the media will regain its credibility in the country and will be treated with care and respect.

Youth leaders skilled on “Peace and Development” in Yaounde

Cameroon is currently being rocked by waves of attacks from the Boko Haram terrorist insurgency in her northern region, while the English speaking North West and South West Regions are witnessing social upheavals since November 2016, complaining about marginalization and assimilation by the Francophone majority. Youths have been mute and absent in the peace building process of these conflicts. This, in total ignorance of UNSC Resolution 2250 on Youth, Peace and Security, adopted on 9 December 2015, which acknowledges the urgent need to engage young peacebuilders in promoting peace and countering extremism.

Against this backdrop, UNIC Yaounde organized a one-day training workshop for youth leaders on “Youth, Peace and Development”, in partnership with “Promise Africa” and the “Organization of African Youth for Peace (OAYP)” on Thursday April 13, 2017. The objective was to build the skills of youths on the fundamentals of peace consolidation, conflict prevention and crisis management, and engage them in the peacebuilding process.

UNIC’s Jean Njita emphasized the correlation between peace and Development, emphasizing Kant’s perpetual peace to Galtung’s negative and positive peace, presenting the history of Development through Rostow’s “stages of economic growth”, the 1992 Rio Earth summit, to the MDGs and SDGs. Focus was on SDG 16: Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions, for “there can be no sustainable development without peace and no genuine peace without sustainable development.

The high rate of youth unemployment in Cameroon (about 6.7% in 2013, according to ILO), was identified as the reason for the high involvement of youths in conflicts, and political authorities were called upon to exercise good governance, for poor employability will eventuality lead to more conflicts. UNSCR 2250 was highlighted as a major instrument to mobilize youths in peace and Development activities as young peacebuilders, for it brings recognition and legitimacy for youth’s efforts in building peace. While Education, public awareness, youths training are pre-requisites for a durable peace building, genuine mediation can be a catalyst in reconciling and healing post conflicts societies. One participant called on youths to “bury their egoism, be tolerant, and accept different viewpoints for peace to thrive in their hearts…for today’s youths are too proud”

Participants acknowledged that youths have a role to play in conflict resolution, and should thus get involved. They were encouraged to use social media to transmit messages of love and reconciliation, to rebuild broken homes, and their society. Just as war is waged, Cameroonian youths should also ‘wage peace’ by making peace a full time activity. NGOs and associations advocating for Peace were urged to network for better coordination and greater impact of activities on the field. At the end, testimonials were handed to all participants.