In 1948, the United Nations Conference on Freedom of Information declared access to information an essential freedom; one that underpins all others. Yet, a 1962 UNESCO survey found that over 70% of the world lacked access to adequate information. In response, the UN called for all countries to include a media development strategy within their economic development plans. In addition to securing this fundamental right, information media has an important role to play in education, social and economic progress.
Denis & Lenora (D&L) Foretia Foundation organized a symposium on Media and Development in Cameroon at the Cameroon Cultural Center, near Maison du Combattant – Nlognkak, Yaoundé on the 30th November 2015 in which GERAS was invited. The program stared at 3pm with arrival of guests and registration. Invitees were from different media houses and media related organizations. The Country Director, Mr. Obed Fung welcomed all the participants and gave a brief description of the Denis & Lenora Foundation. He then outlined the need for media and development in Cameroon and gave an idea on the progression of media technology till date when there are so many television and radio stations, newspapers, and communication networks. He quoted that it means Cameroon is meeting up with the advancements in the world of Information and Communication Technology (ICT). This symposium was powered by the Nkafu Policy Institute which is a policy Think Tank center at the D&L Foundation whose mission is to advance public policies that help all Africans prosper in strong, fair and sustainable economies. This institution is currently working with many media organizations. While wishing everyone present a great time, the Country Director officially opened the symposium for deliberations.
There was a panel discussion with distinguished panelists, and the themes covered were:
– Role of media in the socio-economic development of Cameroon: acquisitions, difficulties and limitations.
– Media, sustainable Development and new economy: how best the media can contribute to sustainable development in Cameroon.
– Media’s civic and social responsibility: how media fulfils its civic responsibility in sharing information between sectors of the society.
– Media and rural development: how do media in Cameroon outreach the rural environment in order to ensure a balanced development?
– Mass communication and information technology: What innovative changes in the digital sector have permitted smooth information transmission?
This was followed by a very interactive and educative questions and answers session for everyone present. Ms Cecile Katsang of D&L Foundation gave a closing remark whereby she thanked all those who respected the invitation from the D&L Foundation and she wished all participants to go back with a wind of change for the Cameroon Media sector. The event ended with photo session, interviews and refreshment.
Presented by Mmbi Abeng, GERAS’ representative in Yaounde, Cameroon.