The first network meeting of the community media in the South West Region in Cameroon held under the impression of the increasing acts of terrorism in the Northern Regions in Cameroon and their effects on the reporting and coverage of those events in the media in the whole of Cameroon.
The community media practitioners in the South West observed an increasing number of media reports involving fear and hate speech and generalization of the Muslim community as members of Boko Haram. Muslim children have been attacked in the streets and been refused the entrance to markets and shops.
The meeting looked critically at the role of media in general and the potential of community media to counter stereotyping, generalization and hate speech. The leading questions for the discussion were:
- Should we cover/report on acts of terror?
- If so, how do we cover these acts of terror?
- Do we use hate speech?
- Do we use inflammatory language?
- Do our reports carry fear messages? Do we give ground for glorification of acts of terror and terror organisations?
- Do we use negative or positive stereotypes & generalizations?
Together with representatives of the Muslim Communication Service in Buea a possible wording was elaborated and common actions were discussed including general information on Boko Haram, education and engagement with the Youth via media and community development activities.
UPDATE: For further information on the recruitment of young persons into para-military organisations we recommend our post on the publication of the CPS – Civil Peace Service in Cameroon “Recruitment of Young People in Armed Groups in Cameroon – An Action Research Project of the Civil Peace Service Network in Cameroon”