Let’s tell the stories of ordinary people caught in NW/SW conflict, SNJC NW tells South colleagues

By BD in Ebolowa

A delegation of Cameroon Journalists’ Trade Union CJTU/SNJC NW chapter visiting their colleagues in the South Region say reporters must go beyond government positions in covering the over two years old armed conflicts eating up Cameroon from the NW and SW by telling the stories of ordinary civilians affected by violence. 

CJTU/SNJC NW made the request during an interactive session with colleagues of the South in Ebolowa as part of a two days working and friendly that also gave room for reflections on what contributions journalists can make to end the crisis from Feb 21-22. 

Visiting CJTU/SNJC Delegation at South Regional Delegation of Communication
Responding to questions on usual difficulties faced by journalists covering conflicts based on her personal experiences in the NW region, the visiting NW delegation said among the recurring problems is getting the narratives of sources other than those coming from the military, police, local government units, other government agencies, and the armed groups involved.

According to the NW delegation, there is the fear that many colleagues not living in the affected regions are ignoring the voice of innocent people caught up in the conflict just like other stakeholders, community leaders, religious groups, women, youth and all other sectors. The temptation the delegation insisted during the visit is for the press to just be loudspeakers of the government, military, police or armed group.  

From the South Regional Delegation of Communication, to the South Regional Governor’s office and the office of the Divisional Officer for Ebolowa I, the visiting delegation expressed the need for government to continuously provide a conducive for journalism to thrive as a key to democracy, fight against corruption, development and peace building. 
Visiting CJTU/SNJC delegation with South Governor and colleagues of the South

South Governor Felix Nguele Nguele congratulated the CJTU/SNJC NW delegation for braving the challenges and embarking on the long journey to the South Region. He noted that the South is still very enclave as opposed to popularly opinion that the area could be more developed than other regions since it is home region to the Head of State. The immediately past SDO for Mezam Division in the NW prior to his appointment as governor encouraged the media professionals to continue working together to ensure that peace returns to the regions. 

The visit which is the fallout of the just passed Elective Ordinary Congress of the Trade Union in Douala according to Jerome Essiane CJTU/SNJC South President met its objectives as it permitted journalists, media professionals and the population of the South to understand how serious the situation in Bamenda and the North West is following the experience sharing moments and visit to media organs like Glory FM and CRTV South. 

“We are giving a new face to Trade Unionism in Cameroon reason why when I heard that comrades were coming to Ebolowa from the North West I could not stay back. Yaounde is just a short drive from Ebolowa and that is why I had to come. We have had a moment to exchange Ideas and also to educate many others in the media on the importance of belonging to the trade union. Together we are stronger as you know.” Theirry Eba CJTU/SNJC Center Chapter President noted. 

The exchange visit comes at the time CJTU/SNJC is taking the front line position as Cameroon’s most influential media rallying structure with actions that have caused the release of detained journalists and other media workers as well as assisted many in detention with legal aid and materially. The trade union is amending the foundation text of the opening up for everyone in the media with emphasis on the need to adhere as a member so as to benefit from the inelastic advantages offered by the trade union. 

Re-elected President of CJTU/SNJC Denis Kwebo who supported and monitored the entire exchange visit has also pushed for sweeping reforms within the trade union giving more authority to regional chapters, creating an ethics and deontology committee, transforming World Press Day to a national assembly event amongst.

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