Elias Funge Diffang, Journalism and Mass Communication Lecturer, University of Buea
What is your appraisal of the coverage of the October 7 presidential election?
First of all, I would like to mention that it was rather unfortunate for journalists in the restive regions to cover the election. I live in Bomaka, Buea in the South West Region where I could not go out of my house on Election Day. So journalists and citizens in the region had to depend largely on reporting by media outlets in other parts of the country. I however followed the news and programs on CRTV, private TV stations like Equinoxe and other media organs. In my opinion, the media did not really live up to the expectations of Cameroonians. Journalists appeared to have been ill-prepared for coverage. They were not asking politicians the right questions that could make them express themselves adequately. Most of them failed to touch the right topics.
What lessons should we draw from this?
Journalists could have done better and would do better if they worked under the right conditions. It would appear ELECAM did not give the press adequate importance in its planning. It is also apparent that pressmen were not provided with enough information. For future elections, ELECAM should acknowledge the usefulness of the press and treat it as such. Media owners and managers also need to ensure that reporters in their media houses are trained in elections reporting. Journalists should be schooled enough on how to go out to the field and return with in-depth reports and avoid sounding like they have been bought over by politicians when they ask pointers instead of incisive questions.