Samedi, Novembre 17, 2018

Protection of media professionals during elections: Three-days training of Law Enforcement Officers ends in Douala

Protection of media professionals during elections: Three-days training of Law Enforcement Officers ends in Douala

Douala 7 September 2018

The workshop, which was jointly organised by the United Nations Center for Human Rights and Democracy in Central Africa and the United Nations Development Program, was also a forum for media professionals and law enforcement officers to set the basis for a stronger and meaningful collaboration towards ensuring protection and respect of human rights.

Douala 7 September 2018: Some 45 participants, including 30 Police and Gendarmerie officers, 15 media representatives, and other information professionals drawn from seven regions of the country have completed a three-day training on the protection and security of journalists and other information professionals during elections and in times of crisis.

The training which held in Douala from 5-7 September 2018, aimed at ensuring a better understanding of the role of each other in view of an optimal contribution to the promotion of peaceful elections in Cameroon in 2018.

Media professionals enjoined to be architects of peace during electoral periods

Speaking during the closing ceremony, Mr. Nyindie Samuel Celestine, Representative of the Governor of the Littoral Region, stressed Government’s resolve to continue to uphold the tannates of peace, human rights and the protection of all citizens before, during and after the elections in Cameroon. “The role of the journalists and the Law Enforcement officers in our current context is crucial in ensuring that there is peace in Cameroon. Government is working hard to see that this crisis situation is brought under control and for peace to reign”, Mr Nyindie stated.

On behalf of the Resident Coordinator of the United Nations System in Cameroon, Mr Emini Zephirin enjoined participants on the need for Security Forces to protect journalists against attacks by those who seek to prevent them from informing the public. “A professional relationship between security forces and journalists is essential in democracy, to ensure that all citizens have access to information and freely express themselves in a safe environment” Mr Emini added.

While drilling participants on the legal framework and human rights standards in elections, Mr Kiven Fonyuy, Communications and Advocacy Associate at the United Nations Center for Human Rights and Democracy in Central Africa, told participants that without a minimum level of public order, citizens and journalists cannot fully enjoy their rights to freedom of expression.

The Declaration focusses on the risks and threats to social peace that can be caused by news articles and programs, which do not obey the principles of balanced and impartial treatment of information, as well as the restrictions on the use of hate speech.Besides training on the need for the protection of media professionals during elections, and the role played by media and Law Enforcement Officers in the prevention and management of complex crisis related incidents during electoral periods, participants were also drilled on human rights related issues including freedom of expression during elections. Other aspects such as gender, democracy, peace and security were also discussed.

Cameroon faces multiple elections in the coming 12 months beginning with presidential elections scheduled for 7 October 2018. A strong collaboration framework between media professionals and law enforcement officers will prepare the ground for a secure and acceptable election. In this light, participants adopted over 23 recommendations, which, if implemented by various actors, will go a long way to pacify the electoral process.

This Douala training follows the series of capacity building workshops for media professionals on coverage of electoral processes and their role in promoting peaceful elections in Cameroon held from 26 June to 28 July 2018 in Ngaoundere, Douala, Bafoussam and Mbalmayo.