By Amindeh Blaise Atabong, January 12, 2017
Cameroon Journal, Yaoundé – Committee to Protect Journalists, CPJ, has called on the Government of Cameroon to urgently lift a decision suspending Radio Hot Cocoa FM 94 in Bamenda from broadcasting.
Following Regional Order No. 001/AR/SDG/DAAJ issued by the Governor of the North West Region, the office of the independent radio station was sealed and the broadcaster put off air on Tuesday January 10. The station’s manager, Gideon Taka confirmed the blackout to local reporters.
Adolphe Lele Lafrique NW Governor had closed Radio Hot Cocoa indefinitely, accusing it of “inciting civil disobedience during a live call-in show discussing teachers’ strike in the region.”
According to officials of the CPJ, an organization working to safeguard press freedom worldwide, the suspension of Radio Hot Cocoa is part of an ongoing effort to stifle coverage of the grievances of English-speaking Cameroonians.
“Authorities should allow the radio station to resume operations immediately and should cease censoring the news,” Peter Nkanga, CPJ West Africa Representative demanded.
CPJ noted that the suspension of Radio Hot Cocoa is the latest in a series of attempts to stifle reporting and commentary on the political crisis.
The move by the North West Governor follows that of other administrators to frustrate extensive coverage of Common Law lawyers and Anglophone teachers’ strikes which began in October 2016.
The South West Regional Delegate of Communication had earlier, issued a release calling on media organs in the region not to discuss issues related to the strikes on air. The Governor of the same Region intimidated journalists who were planning an All Anglophone Journalists’ Conference.
Cameroon is rated ‘Not Free’ in the latest Freedom of the Press index and ‘Not Free’ in Freedom of the World by Freedom House.
By press time Thursday, Radio Hot Cocoa was still off air while the President of the National Communication Council, Peter Essoka, was in Bamenda to brainstorm with journalists on ethical news reporting.