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.