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State Media ‘Ban’ Reporting On Ambazonia Leaders’ Trial

Cameroon(National Times)-Despite the much attention paid to the case of the 10 Ambazonia leaders arrested in Nigeria and transferred to Cameroon, the State media has systematically and carefully avoided mentioning or dwelling on the ongoing trial at the Yaoundé Military Court or anything related to the persons involved.

While most newspapers and audiovisual channels focused on the recent case on Thursday, January 10 with extended reports covering Friday, State newspaper, Cameroon Tribune instead dedicated its pages to the presentation of New Year wishes to the First Lady, Chantal Biya.

Meanwhile, State audiovisual channel, the CRTV did not bother even to mention the trial in any of its news editions.

The case was treated as a non-event giving the image that national life in Cameroon is on the smooth path through its natural conclusive end.

The importance of the case cannot be overstated. Despite taking place in Yaoundé, hundreds of kilometres away from the epicentre of the events, most towns and villages in Anglophone Cameroon were deadly ghosted with gunshots being heard in many places like Kumba, Bamenda, Tombel, Mbonge and many others.

When Sisiku Julius AyukTabe and co were arrested on January 5, 2018 there was dead silence from the Government as well as the State media.

After the press briefing of then Communication Minister, IssaTchiroma Bakary about four weeks after affirming the arrests of the Ambazonia leaders, State media outlets gracefully exploited the case, but strictly from the angle of the Government.

In its edition of February 1, 2018, Cameroun Tribune picked the words of Tchiroma and argued that the transfer of the “secessionists” was according to the Law (Leaders seccessionistes arrestés: Unrapatriement en règle, Cameroon Tribune February 1, 2018, no. 11528/7727).

It was a similar angle upheld by the CRTV which brought in ‘experts’ in the field of geopolitics and international relations to State that everything was within the law and these experts also argued that with the arrest of Sisiku AyukTabe and his cohorts, the end game of the conflict has been reached.

However, since then, these media organs sponsored by the Cameroonian taxpayer have systematically shunned the coverage of events related to the leaders’ trial and welfare except when an official press release is done by Communications Minister and they relay it.

Bad Language Disdain

To certify the bias coverage of events plaguing the life of the nation especially the conflict in the North West and South West Rgions, Journalists of the State media have been banned from using words such as “Anglophone” and “Ambazonia.”

These words are now being considered as bad language which must be avioded by every reporter under the State payroll.

Moreover, it is also forbidden from addressing the situation as “Anglophone problem” as it has been known over the years or “conflict in the Anglophone Regions” or worst still “Ambazonia/Southern Cameroons war.” New vocabularies have been manufactured overnight and served these journalists who have confirmed that they have been officially asked to describe the situation as the “socio-political crisis in the North West and South Regions.”

Even though experts in conflict and peace studies have described the situation as “an escalated conflict ongoing,” Government through the State media has played it down making it to look like an exhibition of gansterism by a few rogue elements that are being policed by national defence forces.

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