Dear Vision 4 Management,
I have been watching your TV channel for some time now and I would like to point out the following to you with a view to helping you grow your audience. I am usually overwhelmed when your journalists declare from their “high pulpit” that Cameroon is one and indivisible, but when I look at your staff make-up, I feel you are simply paying lip service to the whole notion of unity. I thought a country’s unity and indivisibility should be reflected in every action that is taken, be it in the public or private sector. Unfortunately, the majority of your journalists are from a particular region and they seem to have the prerogative of running down other people from other regions of the country while extolling the virtues of those they consider as being worthy of their air time, even when innocent citizens are being mowed down. A case in point is Jean Jacques who, a few weeks ago, declared that Anglophones were rats and that the government’s Kafkaesque oppression of a people seeking better management of their lives and affairs was a pest control operation. This did not sound like the type of language that was designed to unite the country. Though he later apologized, an act I highly applauded, the Anglophone minority however understands how genocidal he could be if he had power.
Allow me to also mention that I am always delighted to see the Anglophone problem discussed on your channel. However, your channel appears to be another Berlin Conference where the fate of a people is discussed without their participation in the said conference. Your list of panelists hardly includes any Anglophones even when they are the people complaining about marginalization. Most of your guests are usually Betis, many of whom unfortunately take sides with the government even when lives are being lost. I hold nothing against the Betis. I have cousins who are Betis and some of my best friends are Betis, but this does not nullify the fact that we have to be objective in whatever we do or say about our country, especially as our common goal is to build a prosperous, united and indivisible Cameroon. I would think a channel like yours should be seeking to provide balanced perspectives on all the issues affecting the country so that its audiences are well-informed about the issues that are undermining our unity and development efforts.
If we have to forge ahead as a people, I would suggest and would urge you to have programs in English to enable Anglophones to freely express their views. There is no better way of understanding the issues if those raising them are not given the opportunity to share their perspectives. For some time now, I have unfortunately noticed that you sometimes bring in quacks who claim they can speak good, intellectual English to explain and analyze the Anglophone problem when many of them have only rudimentary knowledge of the issues while their knowledge of English is, at best, embryonic. I cannot believe that a national channel can reduce itself to just bashing a people without seeking to know their problems or even giving them an opportunity for them to make their point of view understood by the majority. I want Cameroon to be one and indivisible, within a federal structure and I do not understand why your journalists still consider federalism as being illegal and off limits. Some of your journalists deliberately distort facts just to prove that federalism is equal to secession. I would suggest you advise them to take a look at Canada, the United States, Switzerland and Belgium for them to gain a better understanding of how federal systems work. Like them, I want our country to be the best, but unlike them, I will keep on avoiding divisive language that will fragilize our country and create a deficit of patriotism in some parts of our country.
Similarly, I do also understand that in a media landscape where there is cut-throat competition and where financial resources are limited, there is bound to be a tinkering of editorial policies, but overtly sucking up to certain politicians is beyond the pale. Some of the politicians, most of whom are CPDM stalwarts, seem to determine your editorial policy and the hate speech that emanates from your channel beats my imagination. I would suggest that you take the moral high ground when it comes to journalism instead of allowing a few ideologically-driven politicians to drive your agenda. Politicians will come and go, but Cameroon will be around forever, at least in our lifetime. Why not adopt policies that will enable your channel outlive the mandates of those Machiavellian politicians who are spreading fear and division within our country?
My intention is to enable you identify those areas of your job that require some improvement. I will continue to watch your channel and will continue to draw your attention to any inconsistencies and deficiencies that may affect your image as an institution.
Thank you for your time.
About the Author: The author of this piece has served as a translator, technical writer, journalist and editor for several international organizations and corporations across the globe. He studied communication at the University of Leicester in the United Kingdom and technical writing in George Brown College in Toronto, Canada. He is also a trained translator and holds a Ph.D. You could reach him at: email@example.com