In his opening statement marking press freedom day in the country, communications minister and government spokesman Issa Tchiroma Bakary says press freedom is a ‘living reality in Cameroon” despite the nation having been ranked 130/180 countries by reporters without borders (RSF) in terms of press freedom.
After reminding those present of Cameroon’s government support to theme of this year which is “critical Minds for Critical Times: Media’s role in advancing peaceful, just and inclusive societies”, minister Tchiroma went ahead reaffirm government support behind the them and says the state has been working just in that regard saying “The Government of Cameroon rightfully appreciates the relevance of this theme in as much as it enhances both the fundamental values of our nation and the conviction we have of the role which press freedom should play in asserting and perpetuating these values”
He reminded reporters of the numerous and private state medias organs in the country which he says determine their editorial lines independently without any state interference as testament of press freedom a living reality in the country.
Talking of journalist who have been detain with some jailed, the government spokesman categorically denied to attribute them to an attempt to silent the media saying crimes they committed had nothing to do with their functions “A few of these journalists have nevertheless found themselves in breach of justice in our country for reasons having nothing to do with the ethical and deontological norms of their profession”
But with Cameroon ranked 130th position in the world out of 180 countries and other African countries like Ghana, South Africa and Namibia which occupies the 24th position in the world and first in Africa are doing pretty well, the republic still has much catch up to do if minister Tchrioma’s word are to be taken seriously.
The organization has decry the fact that, though many private media houses operate in the country, many are not yet received final approval hence the state used that to intimidate them with shutting them down and control their editorial lines.
They added that “journalists are prosecuted for defamation and “condemned to pay exorbitant fines or prison sentences without standing a chance to defend themselves in court,”