By Atembeh Ngewung Lordfred
During the commemoration of this year’s World Press freedom Day, journalism students of the University of Buea, came out en masse, though still undergoing ethical training amidst many constraints, requesting for the freedom of the press, and expressing worries on the future of most young journalists.
In the midst of the Anglophone crisis, most journalists who have tempered sweeping out the truth, under the rock, have only ended up warming the bare floors of jail. As quoted by the University of Buea’s veteran lecturer, Divine Bisong, on World Press Freedom Day, “the press is free but not free,” most students have remained wanting on the definition of “freedom.”
Brandishing placards, some of which read: “Our liberty depends on the freedom of the press, Journalism is not a crime and our Liberty depends on the Freedom of the Press”, students and lecturers of the Department of Journalism and Mass Communication, University of Buea, raised their voices against the intimidation most journalists face in Cameroon, in carrying out their duties.
According to the 2019 World Press Freedom Index by Reporters Without Borders, Cameroon is ranked 131st out of 180 countries sampled across the world. Apart from the oppression of the press, Cameroon has been noted for gross human rights violations, by many international organizations, especially during the current Anglophone crisis.
According to Ngala Carine, a final year student of the University of Buea, the Freedom of the press should be inviolate. Some other students noted that, the intimidation of practising journalists in Cameroon is a call for concern for those who are still in journalism schools, as they marched on campus, calling for freedom of speech.
While this year’s Press Freedom Day was focused on: “Media for Democracy: Journalism and Elections in times of Disinformation,” many journalists still remain behind bars. Others have tilted their pens when reporting sensitive news stories, for fear of intimidation and violation of their rights.