Private print: the distress cry of the Cameroonian publishers

Private print: the distress cry of the Cameroonian publishers

The Cameroonian private print is dying. It is the alert given by the Federation of Cameroon publishers on May 23 at a press conference given in Yaoundé.

Members of the Federation of Cameroon publishers (Fedipresse) examined the state of the private print media in the country and came to the conclusion that it is gradually dying down.

Some of the reasons presented by the federation to buttress their conclusion are the insufficient public aid to the private press, absence of a law governing state subventions to the media and debts owed the private press by the government of Cameroon.

On this last point, the federation says the situation has led to the death of one private print media already, (Le Quotidien de l’écomomie) after the state failed in paying its publicity bills to the press organ. This situation, they say is the same with many other media organs who are equally at the verge of shutting down their doors.

And when this will finally happen, it will send hundreds of Cameroonians jobless and the unemployment rate in the country will rise.

The publishers lament on the fact that for the state to pay its bills, it takes over a year of “long wait” provoking accounting mix up and functional inconveniences.

Another problem presented by the publishers as a stumbling block on the path of the private print media in Cameroon is the rupture of the distribution contract with “messa presse” making it difficult now for news stands to be flooded with newspapers and on time. Though the publishers did not enjoy the recent changes made by messa presse in the distribution contract that led to the squabbles, they however are still to come up with a strong and vibrant distribution mechanism that will suit every actor in the chain. Here again, an accusing finger points at the government for not standing tall in regulating the sector during the early stages of its crisis period.

The way forward

After presenting the worries of the publishers to the public, the federation of Cameroon publishers, Fedipresse, presented a memorandum of understanding that they have drafted and is ready to be forwarded to the government and the powers that be. The memorandum according to the President of Fedipresse, Haman  Mana, contains solutions to their plights that just need to be implemented for the private print media sector to resurface to its glorious days of the 90s.

The memo indicates that the publishers are not satisfied with the amount of money allocated for the private press as public aid (not up to 500 million FCFA annually since its introduction) and is proposing that the state steps up the amount to five billion FCFA annually. This they say will boost the private print media sector. Besides stepping up the amount, the state should equally create a special organ that will be in charge of the aid and vote a law to that effect.

It should be noted that presently, public aid to the private press is managed with just an order and at the level of the ministry of communication, which to the publishers is not normal.

Also contained in the memo is a call for the government to address the grievances of the publishers tabled to them in 2017.

Précedent Nécrologie : Décès du Maire de Dimako Janvier Mongui Sossomba
Suivant Anglophone crisis:  end of hearing of activists with astonishing declarations


Louvier Kindo
Louvier Kindo 41 Articles

Louvier Kindo Tombe, passionate about radio. He is interested since 2017 in the issues of decentralization, local development and governance.

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