Cameroon threatens cable TV operators shutdown for hosting pro-secession channel

Tuesday August 29 2017

SCBC, the minister said, is a propaganda media

SCBC, the minister said, is a propaganda media of the Southern Cameroons National Council (SCNC)– a separatist movement whose activities were outlawed in January this year. PHOTO FILE | NMG 

By NDI EUGENE NDI
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The Cameroonian government has threatened to shut down all cable television distributors “for broadcasting seditious and hurtful programmes”.

Communications minister Mr Issa Tchiroma Bakary told those who host the Southern Cameroon Broadcasting Corporation (SCBC) TV channel to cease “without delay” or risk their equipment being confiscated.

“Failure to do so will result in the closing of their companies and forfeiture of their equipment,” Mr Bakary said, adding that legal actions will be taken against them.

The minister was speaking at a press conference in Yaoundé on Monday evening.

SCBC, the minister said, is a propaganda media of the Southern Cameroons National Council (SCNC)– a separatist movement whose activities were outlawed in January this year.

The TV channel was launched in May, four months after it had been banned.

SCNC movement, created in the 1990s, has been seeking the secession of the two English-speaking Cameroon regions (Northwest and Southwest) from the predominantly Francophone country.

Its activities were outlawed after the government said they were “contrary to the Constitution and liable to jeopardise the security of the State”.

Cameroon is officially a bilingual country with English speakers comprising 20 per cent of the country’s 23 million people.

The country has in the last year been gripped by violent crisis as Anglophones protest marginalisation and discrimination by President Paul Biya’s central government.

The government has responded with a crackdown, banning two major separatists groups, arresting the movements’ leaders on terrorism charges, and imposing a three-month Internet blackout in the Anglophone regions.