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Friday, 29 August 2008


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It is always quite difficult to criticise the TV in Cameroon from the experience got from advanced societies and elicit any positive impression from Cameroonians themselves.
The overbearing influence the CRTV has had in Cameroon over the years has succeeded to create some level of igonrance in Cameroon which is alarming. First this ignorance itslef is always manifested when they become so hostile to foreign comparisons. Second it is just of recent that Cameroians are getting used to the fact that the Radio and television industry in most of the world is controlled by the private sector.
The most damaging thing here is the confused manner in which the cameroon government has liberalised the Cameroon media industry, and then the censorship that dominates it. Without a profesional media council but one dictated to by politicians, radio television, and the print media have all been invaded by just anybody who can afford equipment. The consequences are obvious. They all produce very low quality products for public consumption and the investors themselves hardly know any better so long as they can make a profit and avoid being closed down by the long arm of the dictatorship.

But the beautiful truth in the media industry is that no matter how ignorant a public is it can still appreciate good products. But the other ugly truth is that because of censorship talent remains unexploited and thus the absence of meaningful local programs. The foreign programs immediately fill in the void. But these programs can never have local content which in most cases should go a long way to autocriticise and build a healthy society. Foreign program content unavoidably limits itself to issues that most Cameroonians cannot relate to or even care about. The foreign programs cannot heal a society which they were not meant for.

If we could be free to express ourselves in programms that reflect our immediate values, our aspirations as a people, we would always have a means through our progrmas to teach the Cameroonian youth what to copy or discard from foreign information.
One specific example. In the US in most cases armed robbery is always a well calculated operation where the robers exactly know what they are after and would shoot only in self defence - i.e. self defence in terms of fear of identification or being shot at at the time of operation. But in Cameroon our armed robbers shoot before they even think they had to force the victim to disclose where whatever they wanted is hidden. Most often they attack without fore knowledge of availability of money of any such valuables. When the victims sinceely plead that there is nothing worth taking they shoot and kill. That is pure ignorance. But they have always watched and admired armed robbers operate in movies but our TV or radio channels have never had the liberty to organise debates, free talk shows or programs that can carry such vital common sense. But then such programs often carry criticisms of government's inability to curb crime, and the Cameroon government will not want any of it.

How can we educate the society if we are not free to say everything we want? The youths copy what they see without any intrinsic psychological understanding of the society in which the activities are caried out. This is an example of an extreme devient bahaviour influenced by the gun culture of societies which our young people know very little about. We can cite many.

The most damaging is the prevalence of low quality Nigerian home videos with dominating themes of 'black magic' 'witch craft' domestic violence, feymania etc. It has unfortunately consumed and altered the thought pattern of Cameroonins who have no means of understanding their improbabilities. I know most of such Camerooians who read this posting will wonder why I might even think that black magic and witch craft could be improbable. But that is the problem. For opinions to be made on anything a serious debate must be freely held. It might recqure a long period for such an opinion to be formed firmly in one's psyche. But it is neccsary. The Nigerian vidoes due to their affordability have made themselves availble to the poorest of the poor and there is nothing to counter them.
For something to counter them it must be equally captivating and only the availability of an atmosphere of free expression can bring out such talents.


While the state shares a responsibility in regulating the audio-visual sector by taking concrete measures and controlling the quality of programs on the few radio and tv houses we have,it would be difficult for the state to take severe measures of control without violating the Liberty Laws of 1990 and the laws regulating the audio-visual sector.

Also,the state cannot control the choice of foreign tv channels young people watch given that many of these channels do broadcast programs which are prejudicial to our notion of public and our deeply held values.Now,the responsibilty comes down to parents.Parents share the greatest responsibility in educating their children at inculcating in them at a very tender age those values that would later on lead them to make intelligent and morally correct choices in life as especially as concerns the types of tv programs they consume.

Though a good moral upbringing isn't an absolute surety to ward off those immoral impulses that may reside in young people,given that peer pressure is often an enticing incentive for debauched comportments amongst youths.Notwithstanding,parental authority and control are fundamental in shaping morally principled youngsters.

Sadly,u would find parents implicitely or explicitely encouraging their progeny either by their incapacity to impose prental authority or by going all the way to share the same couches over pop corn with their children while watching some of these morally deviant tv serials.Prents must know when to take control of the remote control,when its time for homework and when its time to tuck their "chicks" in bed.For no state would ever replace parents in carrying out their these responsibilities.

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