Cameroon :’Hilton Journalists’ days are numbered – Issa Tchiroma

Issa Tchiroma Bakary

The Minister of Communication, Issa Tchiroma Bakary, has said 2016 is the end of the road for some charlatans who pass around for journalists.

Such quacks, he went on, will soon be flushed out of the profession.

According to him, no journalist will be allowed to cover any event without a press card, noting that the days of Hilton journalists are numbered.

The pronouncement was one of the highlights of the speech the Minister presented as he exchanged New Year wishes with members of the communication family in the country.

He said it was time to rid the noble profession of fake journalists, saying only journalists with press cards will be allowed to practice in Cameroon.

Tchiroma’s declaration came on the heels of a weeklong sensitisation campaign the Chairman of the Press Card Issuance Commission carried out in some media houses in Yaounde. Severin Tchounkeu’s message to the proprietors of media organs, journalists, and professional associations was simple: “Fulfill all necessary conditions for your journalists to acquire press cards because the press card is the identity card of a journalist.

Compile the documents and submit them to the secretariat of the press card issuance commission.” The Chair, in the company of some members of the commission, visited over 20 media organs in Yaounde, briefing journalists on the importance of acquiring a press card.




Tchounkeu said after press cards would have been issued to journalists who applied for them, no journalist would be allowed to practice without the document. He said the issuance of press cards to journalists is the only way to re-organise the profession, rescue it from the current quagmire and bring back its nobility.

He vowed that the commission will not issue the card to anybody who is not a journalist. He allayed fears that the conditions necessary for the acquisition of the card were not favourable to freelance journalists.

“We issue press cards to journalists, photo journalists, and camera people. If you are trained as a journalist and you are doing something else, let’s say corporate communication or public relations, we cannot issue you a press card because you are out of the professional brackets,” Severin Tchounkeu averred.

Conditions

According to the law that created the Press Card Issuance Commission, journalists seeking to acquire press cards must fulfill certain conditions. They must submit a handwritten application, a Work Contract, an attestation to show that they are affiliated with the National Social Insurance Fund, a certified true copy of the National Identity Card, a sum ofFCFA10.000, a certificate of Non-Conviction and proof of journalistic work, academic and professional certificates and work attestation from an employer.

Asked what advantages journalists would have for obtaining press cards, Tchounkeu said there will have many advantages. He said he has already signed an agreement with the association of hotel owners and managers, which provides that journalists, who have press cards, will enjoy a circa 35 percent reduction of their bills. He recalled that he also signed a smaller agreement with Orange Cameroon that would enable holders of the press card to have special tariffs for their calls.

He added that agreements for preferential treatment for journalists will be signed with proprietors of travel agencies and insurance companies and other institutions just to ensure that journalists have advantages in all spheres of life.

The Press Card Issuance Commission that the Minister of Communication approved last year is one of the recommendations of the National Communication Forum that took place in Yaounde in 2012. The recommendation is just one of the measures tailored to clean the journalism profession in Cameroon.

Source :The Post Newspaper

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