Cameroon: Media Houses Sanctioned Over Ethics

Regulation & Policy

The National Communication Council issued a press release on Thursday, March 28, 2013. Several television and radio stations as well as a few presenters in the country have been sanctioned by the National Communication Council in a decision dated Thursday, March 28, 2013.

The NCC press release signed by its President, Joseph Befe Ateba, warns New TV, Vision 4, Ariane TV, Golden House, LTM and DBS television stations against promoting pharmaceutical products and their producers. This, in violation of relevant provisions of the December 29, 2006 Law on Advertising in Cameroon which forbid advertising of health structures through the print media, radio and TV or any other means granting access to the masses. The warning is aimed at halting actions that could jeopardise public health through the prejudicial exploitation of the naivety and vulnerability of certain classes of society.

NCC also banned two TV programmes, Canal Détective and IPP News, for airing indecent and violent images over Canal 2 International and LTM. The programmes' respective presenters, Ruben Malick and Awilo, were temporarily suspended from the air. Furthermore, the violation of the principles of professional ethics and deontology in various radio programmes also prompted NCC to definitively ban three programmes in Youth FM, Amplitude FM and Sky One Radio while temporarily suspending their presenters.

The sanctions come just a month after the presidential decree of February 22, 2013 appointing NCC's members. "This marks the beginning of seriousness. We were instructed by our President during the commissioning ceremony to bring sanity back to the profession. We are keeping to the law," NCC's Vice President, Peter Essoka, emphatically told Cameroon Tribune soon after the release. He disclosed the creation of a monitoring service at NCC to watch over media content. On his part, NCC member, Charlie Ndi Chia told this paper that intense and elaborate debates characterised working sessions before the decisions were taken.

The National Communication Council was created by presidential decree in June 1991 and headed by President Felix Sabal Lecco who was replaced upon his death in July 2011 by His Lordship Joseph Befe Ateba. Its mission comprises, amongst others, assisting government in the elaboration, implementation and follow-up of the national policy on communication.