Cameroon bans 'Bongo death' claim television

Thursday December 20 2018

Cameroonians glimpse at newspapers at a kiosk

Cameroonians glimpse at newspapers at a kiosk near the Ministry of Finance in Yaoundé. The National Communication Council in December 2018 suspended several media organs and journalists for various reasons. NDI EUGENE NDI | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

NDI EUGENE NDI
By NDI EUGENE NDI
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Cameroon has slammed a one-month ban on a private television station that falsely announced the death of Gabonese President Ali Bongo Odimba while he was in a Saudi hospital.

Cameroon Media watchdog, the National Communication Council (NCC), said the Yaoundé-based Vision 4 television aired an “unfounded declaration” on its prime time newscast of October 27.

The council said the broadcast was a gross disrespect of “professional requirements of investigation and crosschecking of information delivered to the public”.

Gabonese authorities had in October banned the TV channel on its territory for six months for the same reason.

Latest prohibitions

NCC also imposed a one month ban on journalist and Vision 4 TV director Ernest Oboma “for inciting tribal hatred and violence” on television.

Officials of the channel have snubbed similar decisions against them by the watchdog previously and it was not clear whether they would respect the latest prohibitions.

Besides Vision 4 TV and its director, the Cameroon media regulator also sanctioned four other media organs and about 20 local journalists for allegedly flouting professional ethics.

Pre-trial detention

The council said it had prohibited Ms Mireille Flore, a journalist with Canal 2 International television, from practising in the country following a complaints against her by a bicycle repairer who she presented in a report, “without proof”, as a paedophile.

Mr Dom Pipelassi Michael Dopass, a journalist and presenter of the radio programme, Sports and Investigation, was slammed a two-month ban following the broadcast of “unfounded claims” against football legend Samuel Eto’o, the NCC said.

The council also suspended the Sports and Investigation programme for same reason and same duration.

The journalist who works for the Yaoundé-based Soleil FM is in pre-trial detention in the Cameroon capital for same crime.

The Cameroon Journalists Trade Union (SNJC) was yet to comment on the latest sanctions by the regulator, but had described previous suspensions by the watchdog as attempts by government to muzzle the already gagged press.

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