Media of Cameroon
Cameroon's media includes print publications that are both public and privately owned; a public television station and privately owned channels; radio stations that are public, privately owned, and foreign; and the Internet.
Freedom of speech
The constitution guarantees freedom of the press, but in practise the threat of government censorship generally prevents opposition viewpoints from appearing in print, especially in the government-controlled press.
Censorship and harassment of journalists is common in Cameroon. The government has been implicated in recent efforts to block access to Twitter within the country. Newspaper editor Raphaël Nkamtcheun was detained for receiving allegedly confidential government documents from former finance minister Polycarpe Abah Abah when he visited Abah in Yaoundé prison on February 17, 2011, an incident that Reporters Without Borders condemned as arbitrary intimidation. Cameroun Express editor Ngota Ngota Germain (aka Bibi Ngota) died in Yaoundé's Kondengui Central Prison on April 22, 2011, an incident opponents cite as government intimidation; other reporters subjected to arrest and incarceration without being charged include editors Serge Sabouang of the bimonthly La Nation and Robert Mintya of the weekly Le Devoir.
88 proposals to create private radio and television services are under examination by the Minister of Communication.
Most Cameroonian publications are issued irregularly and have small circulations. The majority are published in French, but some appear in Bulu, Duala, and other native languages of Cameroon. The major daily is the Cameroon Tribune, the official government newspaper, published in French in Yaoundé, with a weekly English-language edition; circulation was 66,000 in French and 20,000 in English as of 2002. There are 40 to 50 private newspapers, most of which are published sporadically.
Cameroon's print media includes several publications, including the following:
- Journal officiel de la République du Cameroun: announces the publication of laws
- Cameroon Tribune: official national daily, published bilingually in French and English
- Cameroon Weekly: weekly best selling private newspaper
- Le Messager
- La Nouvelle Expression: includes an online edition
- The Herald: English, includes an online edition
- The Post: English, includes an online edition
- Le Popoli: humour newspaper
- La Voix du paysan
- La Nouvelle Tribune: weekly, economic and financial news
- Le Jour
- Eden Newspaper
- Guardian Post
- The Star Newspaper
- The Sun Newspaper
Radio and television
In 1987 Cameroon’s radio and television networks were merged to form the Office de Radiodiffusion–Télévision Camerounaise (CRTV), which operates under the authority of the Ministry of Information and Culture. There are broadcasting stations at Yaoundé, Douala, Garoua, Buea, Bertoua, Bamenda, and Bafoussam, offering programs in French, English, and many African languages. In 2004, there were about 20 privately owned radio stations operating in the country; however, these were not officially licensed. The state-owned Cameroon Radio Television (CRTV) is the only officially recognized and fully licensed broadcaster in the country.
In 2003, there were an estimated 161 radios and 75 television sets for every 1,000 people.
Television first came to Cameroon in 1985 (relatively late, if compared to other African countries). It arrived as part of the development and modernization project of the President Paul Biya, who saw it as a mean of education for the youths, as he stated in his political manifesto Pour le libéralisme communautaire (1987). For the construction of the television centre at Mballa II and the training centre at Ekounou in Yaounde were invested ninety billion francs CFA and antennas and repeater stations were built in different strategic sites to assure decent coverage by television signals all around the country. The first broadcast was in 1985, in Bamenda, in occasion of the congress of the single party, in which the Cameroonian National Union became the Cameroon People’s Democratic Party. Until the end of the 1990s there was only one official television channel, which was the state-owned CRTV. While Paul Biya and its entourage presented television as a mean of development, many others saw it as a propaganda tool in the hand of the regime to tendentiously inform the population, praise the government, and denigrate its opponents.
Beyond news and political event coverage, in the 1980s and 1990s, CRTV produced good quality TV series with the aim to entertain and educate the Cameroonian public, against a perceived moral decadence. The most famous productions among the viewers were L'orphelin (1988–1989, dir. Ndamba Eboa) and Le débrouillard (1989–1990, dir. Ndamba Eboa), the misadventure of an orphan who suffers victimization by his stepmother, La succession de Wabo Defo (1986, dir. Daouda Mouchangou), a semi-documentary telefilm on the funeral and successor ceremonies in a bamileke chiefdom, Kabiyene ou à qui la faute? (1987, dir. Ndamba Eboa), the story of a village girl who is beaten hard by the city life, and L'étoile de Noudi (1989, dir. Daouda Mouchangou), the story of a young girl who escapes from an arranged marriage with an old village chief and becomes a prostitute in the city. In addition to these successful telefilms, CRTV produced many other low quality TV series, which remained almost unnoticed among the public, docu-fictions with a declared didactic purpose, in collaboration with the Catholic church and NGOs, and adaptations of theatrical performances. The rest of the airtime was dedicated to European sport, South-American telenovelas, Hollywood and French films downloaded from TV5 Monde, Canal France International, and Canal Plus. Most of these programs were in French, although Cameroon is a bilingual country, with both English and French as official languages.
In addition to CRTV, other private TV channels were broadcasting illegally, before the media liberalization. The best known was TV Max, finally forced to close down after a legal queerly with CRTV, at the beginning of the 2000s. In December 1990 the law n° 90/052 on social communication authorized the opening of private media, but private radio and television broadcasting was allowed only in April 2000, following the decree n° 2000/158. The liberalization of the audio-visual sector led to the mushrooming of private television stations in the main cities of the country, which tried to beat the competition of state television with programs more attuned to the interests and needs of the population. The local viewers welcomed this change and new television stations, such as Canal 2 International, Equinoxe television, and STV, have quickly become the most appreciated by the public.
Even in the new liberalized media environment, government maintains tight control over television, by the institutionalization of a broadcasting license for audiovisual exploitation. According to the article 15 of the April 2000 decree, commercial television stations must pay 100 million francs CFA ($192,000) to get a ten-year license by the Minister of Communication. Considering that the amount is huge when compared to the economic level of the country, the authorities created the so-called principle of “administrative tolerance”, which enabled media entrepreneurs to run their television stations before being fully licensed. Being this a discretional principle, media operators work under threat, as it is sufficient to make a reportage that the authorities do not like to be shut down for illegal exercise of the profession. A case in point is Equinoxe television, banned for several months in 2008, after taking position against the change of the constitution promoted by President Paul Biya.
It is estimated that CRTV covers 60% of the country through 64 transmitters. Since 2001 it has also offered satellite transmission. Private TV stations have their own transmitters. Both STV and Canal 2 International are received in the Southern half of Cameroon and are available over satellite and cable bouquets elsewhere. The only Cameroonian cable distribution enterprise is TV+, owned by Emmanuel Chatue, who also runs the television station Canal 2 International. TV+ sells images which are broadcast by foreign television channels to Cameroonian consumers, especially western movies and soap-operas. However, there are many other abusive small cable distributors who illegally distribute foreign images for very cheap fees. In addition, many of them run abusive TV channels that broadcast global media products acquired mainly through illegal internet download.
- CRTV Télé: maintains a website
- STV1 (spectrum TV 1)
- STV 2 (Spectrum TV 2)
- Canal 2 International
- Ariane TV
- Equinox TV
- TV Max
- DBS, channel under development
- Vision 4, in the testing phase
- New TV, under development
- Africa TV, under development
- L.T.M TV Douala
- canal2 zebra
- SAMBA TV
- T.L under development
- CAMNEWS24 Douala
- Liberty TV (Douala)
- KCBS Television (Kumba)
- cam 1 tv (limbe)
- See also: List of radio stations in Africa: Cameroon
Cameroon has several public radio stations, regulated by the Radio de l'office national de radio et télévision (CRTV).
- The national station, transmitting from Yaoundé
- Ten provincial radio stations
- Radio Jeunesse, Yaoundé
- RTS (Radio Tiemeni Siantou), has a website, Yaoundé and Bafang
- Magic FM, Yaoundé
- TBC, Yaoundé
- FM 94 Yaoundé
- Radio Venus, Yaoundé
- Radio Environnement, Yaoundé
- Radio Lumière, Yaoundé
- Sky One Radio, Yaoundé
- Radio Bonne Nouvelle, Yaoundé
- Moov Radio, Yaoundé
- Radio Equinoxe, has a website, Douala
- Sweet FM, Douala
- FM Suellaba (known mainly be the name FM 105), Douala
- Radio Nostalgie, Douala
- RTM (Real Time Radio), Douala
- Radio Veritas, Douala
- FM Medumba, Bangangté
- Radio Yemba, Dschang
- Radio Star FM, Bafoussam
- Radio Batcham, Bafoussam
- Radio Salaaman, Garoua
- FM Mont Cameroun Buea
- Radio Fotouni, Fotouni
- FM Pouala Bafoussam
- Eden Radio FM (Limbe)
- Ocean City Radio (Limbe)
- Eternity Gospel Radio (Limbe)
- Radio Oku, Oku
- Radio Lolodorf, Lolodorf
- Satellite FM, Yaoundé
- Radio Equatoriale, Sangmélimad
- Radio Casmando, Douala
- Hit Radio, Douala
- Stone FM Radio (Ndop)
- Lakesite Radio (Kumba)
- Calvary Good News (Radio Kumba)
- Ocean City Radio (Radio Kumba)
- Radio Hotcocoa (Bamenda)
- Abakwa FM Radio (Bamenda)
- NDEFCAM Radio (Bamenda)
- CBC Radio (Bamenda)
- Chamba Community Radio (Balikumbat) FM 103.0 MHz
It is also possible to receive Canal+ Horizons.
The telecommunications network has been improving over the years. It is still inadequate by international standards; the fixed line infrastructure, owned by the monopoly fixed-line service provider Camtel, has outdated equipment and service in the country is irregular. Only 1 out of every 100 Cameroonians has a fixed-line telephone.
An automatic telephone exchange system links all important cities and towns. Cable, telegram, and telex services connect Cameroon to the outside world. In January 1974, a satellite telecommunications earth station was inaugurated, greatly improving the quality of Cameroon’s international telephone service. However, service is still limited to mostly business and government use.
As of 2009, there are approximately 40 mobile telephone subscribers for every 100 people in Cameroon.
In 2003, there were 5.7 personal computers for every 1,000 people and 4 of every 1,000 people had access to the Internet. There were three secure Internet servers in the country in 2004.
- Journalducameroun.com, Yaoundé
- Communications in Cameroon
- Internet censorship and surveillance in Cameroon
- Cinema of Cameroon
- Literature of Cameroon
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Reporters Without Borders firmly condemns newspaper editor Raphaël Nkamtcheun’s detention for the past week for receiving allegedly confidential government documents from former finance minister Polycarpe Abah Abah when he visited Abah in Yaoundé prison on 17 February. Abah has been jailed since 2008 on an embezzlement charge.
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