The Freedom Laws of 1991 have led to the creation of many media houses in Cameroon, including a handful of women.
Cameroon today boasts dozens of newspapers, magazines, FM radio and television stations. This fillip to the gradual growth of the media over the past 20 years is largely attributed to the enactment by government of the 1991 Freedom Laws. Amongst the lot of burgeoning media houses – though not without financial challenges – are those founded or run by women.
The scene is the same early morning in the newsroom. A woman takes her position at the far end of the table. Then, the editorial meeting begins as she takes and gives the floor to colleagues to make their inputs to the day’s, week’s or month’s conductor – as the case may be. Ensuring that each staff understands their brief or story angle and that deadlines are met is her responsibility. Meticulous as ever, she leaves nothing to chance in order to ensure that the media house maintains its reputation. This is the situation in radio, magazine, television and newspaper organisations founded and managed by women.
Débora Ngo Tonye, 32, today manages «L’Emploi, » an employment magazine she founded in 2008 after stints with « Mutations » and “Le Jour” French language newspapers. She had earlier managed a news website, www.cameroun-online.com. The graduate of the Yaounde Advanced School of Mass Communication, ASMAC, had developed interest in the profession years before by participating in Cameroon Radio Television programmes while still in high school. Irène Sidonie Ndjabun is publisher of the weekly health paper, “Notre Santé.” A daring journalist, Ndjabun has kept the newspaper going for years. Another interest-specific publication is “Le Droit” magazine published by Emilienne Soué.
‘Kwin’, is a glossy monthly, general interest magazine by Marie-Caroline Kingue, the publisher. With columns on society, health, fashion and beauty, art and life, discussion, gossip and contest, the magazine since inception in October 2012 has mostly profiled “women of substance” on its cover. Pauline Biyong’s “The Spark,” a weekly tabloid with colour pages has been around since December 3, 2012. It is one of the most popular papers, given that it is distributed free. A former board member of Elections Cameroon, ELECAM and civil society activist, Pauline Biyong also publishes ‘La Cité’ newspaper.
Cameroon Radio Television’s Mélanie Félicité Betebe is publisher of the weekly, ‘Baromètre Communautaire’ since late 2015. Concerning online news publications, one of the many publishers is Marie-Noëlle Guichi, who runs fluxecoafrique.com website. Anglophones are not left out of the growing number of female newspaper publishers and audio-visual media owners. Maureen Dewah runs the Kumba-based ‘Lakeside Radio’, which lays emphasis on health education. Also from Kumba, Diana Egbe Arrey manages ‘Update’ newspaper. Concerning audio-visual media, perhaps the best known woman is the artiste, Marthe Mouaha or Dinaly. She owns the Douala-based La Télévision du Monde, LTM television channel and Real Time Music, RTM radio station.
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