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Media Organs Snub NCC Sanctions 

By Sarah Nduma Ekema

Some media organs which have been suspended by the National Communication Council, NCC, from practising journalism in Cameroon for a period ranging from one to six months, are yet to respect the sanctions.

Following the 10th Ordinary Session of the NCC which held on April 30, 2015, in compliance with the provisions of Decree No 2012/038 of January 23, 2012, reorganising the NCC, print media organs like Le Renard, Cameroon Herald, Climat Social and Vanguard were suspended alongside their Publishers for six months each, for misconduct which constitutes violation of professional ethics in mass communication. Meanwhile, audiovisual media organs like Royal FM, Afrique Media and LTM were similarly sanctioned.

In spite of the suspension, some of these media organs are operating as usual.
Albert Patrick Eya’a, Director of Information of Afrique Media, during the midday news on the CRTVnational station on June 10, 2015 stated that;

“AfriqueMedia is making some people uncomfortable by denouncing neo-colonial practices; the suspensions were not also proportionate to the accusations, which is not understood. We continue to broadcast because we have not been formally notified”, Eya’a remarked.

Peter Essoka, Vice President of the NCC, in an interview on CRTV midday news of Wednesday, June 10, noted:
“Excessive sanctions! No. The decree putting us as a regulatory body gives us that prerogative to sanction. There are different steps. If we see from what you have done in the violation of the ethics of the profession, we have a procedural manual in which we know ‘A’could get this kind of sanction.”

The sanctions have generated death threats on members of the Council.
“They threaten me and my family with death and now we are probably calling on people responsible for security in this country that the Council is not safe.”

The NCC has resolved that,with the aid of competent law enforcement institutions, defaulters must succumb.
Ouest Littoral newspaper, in its issue of Tuesday, June 9, 2015, had as banner headline; “Des decisions prises par des irresponsables (Decisions taken by irresponsible people (our translation).” The paper printed mug pictures of all eight members of the Council, noting inter-alia in the intro:

“We have a duty to establish their names and pictures…who would be judged one day for massacring the press under Paul Biya.

In an inner page continuation under the headline “La dernière provocation de Peter Essoka et sa bande (The last provocation by Peter Essoka and his gang),” members of the Council were described as being irresponsible following their decisions.

The paper pointed an accusing finger at the members of the NCC for making the media in Cameroon suffer, adding that, only irresponsible decision makers could generalise sanctions due to one person. Ouest Littoral went further to state that Cameroonians would one day judge the members of the Council whose names and images the paper published, for killing the press under the Biya regime.

Royal FM was suspended for a period of one month, while Martin Marcelin Ateba, presenter of the programme Le debat republicain was suspended for three months from practising journalism in Cameroon. The presenter of the programme Town Cryer on LTM was also suspended for three months.

Afrique Media, based on the programmes; Le merite panafricain and Le debat panafricain, was suspended for a period of one month. Magne Tada Juliana and Mohammed Bachir Ladan, presenters of the programmes were suspended for six months each, for repeated misconduct characterised by the lack of control of the aforementioned programmes, permitting guests to make unjustified accusations likely to impair the images and honour of personalities, institutions and foreign countries.

The Council, after deliberations, decided to defer its deliberation on three cases;
The case between Issa Tchiroma Bakary, Minister of Communication against Mutations, Quotidien Emergence and Le Messager, following the publication of information concerning a photograph of the Head of State purportedly paying homage to remains of soldiers who died at the war front, posted on the website of the Presidency of the Republic on March 9, 2015.

The newspapers had republished an article on the health condition of Cameroon’s Presidential couple, originally published on the website of the Le Monde newspaper.

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