Protection of Online Journalists, Bloggers at Center of OHCHR-CA Workshop, Best Practices Compendium Produced

In a move to improve the safety of online journalists and bloggers in Cameroon, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights for Central Africa (OHCHR-CA) organized a comprehensive workshop from May 28 to 30, 2024 in the country's economic capital Douala.. The event, brought together participants from six regions of Cameroon, focusing on equipping them with crucial skills to navigate the challenges of reporting in conflict zones.
Fonyuy Kiven, OHCHR-CA addressing closing event

For three days, facilitators such as Fonyuy Kiven, Ngane Dimitte, and experienced journalists including Frederick Takang BBC, Taryang Tabe,  The Advocate, and Donald Tchongue, Defyhatenow, led sessions on various  topics. These included protection mainstreaming in crisis communication, the stakes and challenges of media protection, and strategies to strengthen safety measures. The workshop also delved into practical guides and case studies, offering hands-on training for participants.
Rihanno typing as Taryang speaks 

Rihanno Mars, a blogger from Bafoussam, highlighted the importance of the training. "As bloggers, we often overlook security when heading to the field. This workshop has equipped me with the necessary skills to approach my work more consciously and responsibly," he said. Mars emphasized that many bloggers lack specific training on safety and human rights, making the workshop's lessons particularly valuable.
Hervé Villaire 

According to Hervé Villaire, a journalist with La Nouvelle Expression in Douala, safety concerns are not limited to conflict zones. "Even in Douala, covering events like workers' strikes can be risky. Basic safety knowledge is crucial to return unharmed and get the news we seek. This training has shown me the importance of professionalism and knowing our rights as journalists," he remarked.
Taryang Tabe 

Taryang Tabe, one of the facilitators and President of the Human Rights Journalists Network, pointed out the unique challenges faced by journalists in crisis areas. "Journalists in conflict zones need to be very careful and understand the particularities of the terrain. They are reporting in a humanitarian context, which requires a balanced and professional approach to their work," Tabe advised. He noted the complex environment in Cameroon, with multiple ongoing crises, and urged journalists to be vigilant and informed.
Fonyuy Kiven, OHCHR-CA 

Fonyuy Kiven of OHCHR-CA emphasized on the global nature of protection challenges for journalists. "Anywhere there's a crisis, journalists face significant risks. This workshop aims to equip them with the skills to navigate these challenges, emphasizing that journalists are primarily responsible for their protection," he stated. Kiven also noted the importance of international mechanisms but stressed the need for individual preparedness and professional conduct.

The workshop included sessions on familiarizing participants with the UN Security Council Resolution 2222 (2015) on the protection of civilians and journalists in conflict situations. It also addressed the role of journalists in protecting vulnerable groups during complex emergencies and combating hate speech.

At the workshop's conclusion, a comprehensive compendium of best practices was adopted, reflecting the collaborative effort to enhance media safety in conflict-ridden regions. According to Kiven, the objective to reinforce the capacities of online journalists and bloggers has been successfully met.

As Cameroon continues to face various crises, the skills and knowledge gained from this workshop will be vital for media professionals. The commitment from OHCHR-CA and the enthusiastic participation of media personnel signal a hopeful future where journalists can report with confidence and security.

By Bakah Derick
Tel: 694718577

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