Cameroon: Private sector broadcasters battle with new licensing law

Regulation & Policy

Although Cameroon has over 100 radio and television stations, only three have obtained licences from the Government. The others only have authorisations to enable them operate. These stations are operating contrary to the law on social communication of December 1990 which stipulates that the cost of obtaining a licence for a private radio station stands at FCFA 50 million and FCFA 100 million for a private television station.

The President Director General of L'Anecdote Group, Jean Pierre Amougou Belinga said the law does not favour proprietors of radio and television stations as the cost of obtaining licence is high whereas assistance which the private proprietors receive from government is hardly to FCFA 1million. According to him, the cost is too high and proprietors find it difficult to meet up with the conditions required by government. "Nobody can pay FCFA 100million for a licence when advertisements are not regular," he said. He explained that private radio stations need to pay salaries of journalists, pay bills, etc, which is not easy for them. According to him Satellite Radio has been able to deposit some amount of money for licence but he is presently waiting for the rate to reduce which is one of the recommendations of the National Communication Council.

According to Jean Pierre Amougou Belinga, in order to help the proprietors of private radio and television stations, the government must review the law on audiovisual tax. He said the private radio and television stations must also share the audio visual tax and not only CRTV because they too are rendering service to the public. "It is from there that journalists can be well treated," he said. According to Amougou Belinga, all proprietors of private radio and TV stations appreciate the vision of the new Minister of Communication which holds that there is no public or private media because they have services to render to the public."