Tuesday, 22 May 2018

Panic Grips Yaoundé Regime As SCBC Grows From Strength to Strength

Nothing is a bigger threat to a criminal regime than the media, especially in these modern times with the media no longer a state monopoly like it used to be in the last century. 

Gone are the days when government officials could handpick news headlines, sugarcoat and twist them to further their own agenda to the detriment of the masses. Technological advances have now made it possible for any individual, group, company or organization to run a media company even from the comfort of the bedroom. 

The communications ministry and state controlled media outlets in La Republique du Cameroun are hard hit by the emerging prominence of new media eluding their grip. The alarming speed at which information, before known as classified news, now circulates is overwhelming to authorities. 

People no longer need to sit at home waiting for the 8pm refined news broadcast because they have the opportunity to watch numerous instant live streams of the same news item, record, edit and share videos of the story multiple times before government officials finish the vetting of the script that is meant to be read out to citizens later in the evening.
Panic Grips Yaoundé Regime As SCBC Grows From Strength to Strength

Governments involved in criminal acts are the most likely to panic and feel threatened by the media. The government of La Republique du Cameroun is one such regimes suffering from the effect of dying state owned media outlets. Cameroon Radio and Television has lost over 70% of its followers in the last three decades, likewise newspapers like Cameroon Tribune. 

On the other hand, emerging independent news sources like private-owned television stations, radio stations, newspapers, magazines and social media are experiencing a boom in business. One such media company is The Southern Cameroons Broadcasting Corporation (SCBC). It is just about one year old but it has gained enormous following and popularity. 

The satellite based TV, accessible from any country in the world just with a few technical installations or simple internet connection has covered grounds, the likes of old CRTV have not been able to cover.

When SCBC was launched a little over a year ago, communications minister and government spokesperson laughed lengthily during an interview when he was asked to comment on the birth of the new news source. He said it was such a joke that he had no time to even look at it. 

Well, that joke has grown into a major news source and a threat in less than two years. SCBC just had its official 1-year-old anniversary celebration on Sunday, May 6 2018. The same communications minister, and other high profile officials in the country’s communications sector have received South Africa’s High Commissioner Mgomosto Ruth Magau, pleading with her to look into the possibility of having SCBC shut down as it is allegedly based in South Africa. The official plea is coming after futile attempts have been made to hack and disrupt the smooth functioning of the TV station.

The SCBC headache as well as that of the entire social media sector has led the government of La Republique du Cameroun to go as far as shutting down the Internet for several months to prevent the exposure of atrocities committed by security forces and government officials. 

However, the more efforts have been made to shut down communications, the more sympathizers media outlets like SCBC have won. In these modern times, anything that is banned goes viral. This simple lesson is yet to be learned by officials of the communications sector in La Republique du Cameroun who have so far excelled only in the ban-and-rule method. Extreme panic naturally grips them when they are faced with something they can neither ban nor shut down.

The Southern Cameroons Broadcasting Corporation is nothing compared to CRTV in terms of size, equipment, budget, human resources, coverage scope, years of experience, etc. However, there is just one thing SCBC offers: It tells the stories as they happened and as witnessed by the masses. On the other hand, CRTV tells the stories as the government would love the masses to see it. 

People want the truth, especially in times of crisis. SCBC puts the truth out there for everyone to see and judge. Uncensored videos, interviews, live streams and call in contributions during live broadcasts are some of the elements that form the power of modern media. If a fight took place in the neighborhood, people no longer wait for the government to tell them how it happened. 

People want to watch how it happened. SCBC has become the voice of the people, especially the oppressed who would never make it to the screens of CRTV. This is why it is watched far and wide even from the heart of the CRTV premises itself in Yaoundé.

Therefore, it is the closeness to the aspirations of the masses that gives SCBC the strength and makes officials in Yaoundé panic. Even if La Republique du Cameroun were able to buy off authorities in charge to shut down SCBC, they would not kill the aspirations of the people to know the truth. As long as state media continues to manipulate the truth, stay indifferent on issues affecting the masses, any regular show even on Facebook, telling the truth will become famous. 

We salute you SCBC and all other independent media organs out there representing the voiceless. With all that you lack in terms of resources, stick with the truth and we shall stick with you.

Ndoh Emmanuel

For BaretaNews

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