Cameroonian Journalists Pledge to Promote Gender Sensitive Elections Coverage in Cameroon

Date: Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Over 140 Cameroonian journalists have pledged to promote nonsexist and gender sensitive elections coverage during a series of four capacity building workshops organized by the United Nations to promote gender sensitive media coverage of elections and promotion of peaceful elections by journalists in prelude of the 2018 presidential elections in Cameroon.

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Practical exercises on non-sexist interviewing techniques organized to strengthen journalists skills. Photo: UN Women/ Teclaire Same

The importance of transparent electoral processes in the attainment of democracy and sustainable development goals relative to the promotion of peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development and the building of effective and accountable institutions at all levels. In this perspective, the United Nations system encourages the competent authorities to continue their efforts to create an enabling environment for journalists to fully complete their missions and to exercise their profession freely, including guaranteeing their protection and public access to information. Additionally, the United Nations invites the media to fully assume their social responsibility through neutral, impartial coverage and dissemination of facts to guarantee citizens have access to reliable information during elections.

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Valerie Mengue, LPP program manager advocating for the adoption of nonsexist and gender sensitive elections coverage. Photo:UN Women/ Teclaire Same

Valerie Mengue, Leadership and Political Participation Program Manager at UN Women Cameroon, in her presentation highlighted the role of the media in promoting gender equality during elections through non sexist reporting, positive potrayals of women and by showcasing the competencies and achievements of female politicians. Other issues discussed during the workshop focused on ethics and professionalism of journalism; regulation and self-censorship; treatment of electoral information, the principles of nonsexist / gender sensitive communication in the electoral process and social media practices. Sessions were enriched by practical exercises which enabled participants to deepen their knowledge and share practical experiences in regspect to gender sensitive elections coverage and including a human rights approach for the promotion of peace. 

The workshops have trained over 140 media professionals from media organs and community radio stations from all 10 regions of Cameroon. Each workshop ended with the adoption of two important documents: the ‘Code of conduct of journalists and the media at election time’ and the ‘Media Declaration’ which acknowledges the risks and threats of news coverage and political programs to social peace. Participants were engaged to promote peace journalism, non-sexist gender sensitive elections coverage and to work with complete independence and responsibility, in favor of sustainable development.

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A cross section of participants during the workshop. Photo: UN Women/ Teclaire Same

These series of workshops were co-organized by UN Women, United Nations Education, Scientific, Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the United Nations Regional Office for Central Africa (UNOCA), the United Nations Centre for human rights and democracy in Central Africa (CNUDHD-AC), and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). The workshops equally benefitted from the technical support of Elections Cameroon (ELECAM) and Council of Communication (CNC) and the Ministry of Communication.