After receiving huge sums of money from the Biya Francophone regime in Yaoundé, the major media houses are presently spending on average approximately six minutes every single day pushing the narrative of “Back To School” in Southern Cameroons. The media houses involved have the support of so-called Ambazonian moderates headed by Cardinal Tumi and Barrister Agbor Balla.
French Cameroun political elites are certainly not unbiased figures. They have a history of spreading right-wing memes mocking Southern Cameroonians. They have made a plethora of controversial statements against the people of Southern Cameroons, including once comparing Southern Cameroons to two cubes of sugar. However, with the dust now settled Ambazonians can see clearly the sorry state of the Francophone dominated mainstream media, and the massive bias that journalists exude against the sufferings of the people of Southern Cameroons.
An investigation carried out by Cameroon Intelligence Report found out that approximately 95 percent of all successful journalists in Cameroon have strong ties with the Biya regime and they often turn a blind eye to the atrocities committed by the Cameroon government army soldiers on innocent Southern Cameroons civilians.
Cameroon Intelligence Report also found that over 90 percent of the total media coverage of the Southern Cameroons war has been extremely hostile. There is not another group of people in African history who have faced such uneven coverage from the media. It is therefore entirely fair for Southern Cameroonians to stop watching Equinox and CRTV and for the Southern Cameroons diaspora to increase funding for the SCBC TV station.
Media bias against Southern Cameroonians does not end at the battle for Ambazonia. This pattern has been extremely pronounced against all Southern Cameroons political leaders including Simon Achidi Achu, Peter Mafany Musonge, Philemon Yang and now Dion Ngute. When it was even rumored that the French were considering replacing Biya with Mafany Musonge, Etoudi sponsored an article in many independent French Cameroun newspapers revealing that Musonge had travelled to Switzerland and opened a bank account.
The so-called independent television stations continue to fawn over and defend both the Biya regime and the French Cameroun military and Equinox and CRTV have aired endless reports fantasizing about the Cameroon army success in the war in Southern Cameroons.
By some strange happenstance, La Republique du Cameroun under the 86 year old Biya prides itself in protecting the freedom of the press. Maybe, in order to ensure that anti Biya CPDM officials such Chief Inoni Ephraim, Mebo Ngo, Marafa Hamidou Yaya and Jean-Marie Atangana Mebara are held fully accountable to guarantee Biya’s continued stay in power and maintain the vibrancy of French Cameroun’s advance democracy.
Lying and misleading their audience has become the order of the day with Equinox and CRTV and it has greatly damage the reputations of journalists and cheapened political rhetoric and has actually inspired political extremism in Southern Cameroons. Both French and Southern Cameroonians do not have alternative sources to discern reality from fiction. It is a real danger that actually feeds the seeds of Biya’s authoritarianism because one of the most common tactics dictators like Biya uses to maintain power is to discredit and destroy the free press.
Quite frankly, the biggest enemy of the French Cameroun dominated media isn’t Mr Paul Biya — it’s themselves. Journalists serving with Equinox and CRTV are the only people capable of rewriting their own reputation. It is ultimately entirely in their hands to change their behavior — otherwise, their credibility in the eyes of Southern Cameroonians will be permanently tarred.
It has often been said that the media is the Fourth Estate. It is important for journalists to remember the heavy responsibility that they carry with them. Media houses published false information that led to the genocide in Rwanda and the same situation is slowly but surely playing out in Southern Cameroons. To engage in yellow journalism, falsely blaming Ambazonia Self Defense Forces for crimes committed by Cameroon government army soldiers and Minister Paul Atanga Nji gangs will continue to cost thousands of lives on both sides of the Ambazonia conflict.
Let the media men and women in Equinox and CRTV be aware that words have power. Those who speak and write have great responsibility; journalists must also abide by a code of ethics, the most important quality of which is honesty. Until that changes, there isn’t a bright future for the men and women in La Republique du Cameroun media.
By Soter Tarh Agbaw-Ebai