By Shing Timothy
Cross-section of journalists in the South West ahead of sports walk
Journalists in the South West Region have been carrying out activities to mark this year’s World Press Freedom Day.
The activities brought together over 50 journalists from the nooks and crannies of the South West Region.
One of such activities was a sports walk on Saturday May 1 in Buea. This was the icing on the cake as marked end of week-long activities that started on April 26. During the week-long activities, the journalists in the Region, under the umbrella of the Cameroon Journalists Trade Union, CJTU, visited some administrative, defense and security officials of the region.
The visits to these key officials in the region, according to CJTU SW President, Ines Danielle Ondoa Balla, was to build trust and familiarity given that they are the ones who can intervene when journalists face challenges. “… Visiting administrative, defense and security officials is because we know that most of the time when we have difficulties in exercising our duties on the field and those are the people we have to meet,” she said.
In the course of the week-long activities, the trade union, which has as responsibility the protection of the rights of journalists, visited some media houses from where almost a dozen members joined the union. Getting new members, to the president, is one of the core ideals guiding her administration. “We visited media houses in order to get more members registered as we say, together we are stronger. We need new members and we are happy because at the end of the tour, we have been able to have more than ten members registered into the union,” she disclosed.
Addressing the journalists gathered at Bongo Square after the sports walk, Ines Danielle Ondoa Balla pledged that the union will continue promoting best practices as well as protecting the rights of journalists.
“CJTU South West will continue to promote best practices in journalism and equally the rights of journalists. We are against the violations of journalists’ rights. That is why we are here to advocate the rights of journalists. We want journalists to be able to exercise their rights freely. We are calling on all journalists to join in so that together, we can all do it,” she added.
According to Tarhyang Tabe, senior journalist and a media owner himself, journalists can best protect themselves and their interests when they are united. Thus he challenged journalists to take the opportunity afforded by the activities of World Press Freedom Day to build stronger bonds. He urged journalists to be one another’s keeper given the challenging security environment.
Journalists in the South West Region had to celebrate the World Press Freedom day, normally celebrated on 3 May every year on Saturday 1 May 2021 because the normal day is on a Monday, a day designated by separatists as ghost town day. After the sports walk, the over 50 journalists marked the day with eating, drinking and partying.