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Caught between scylla and charybdis? assessing the practice of journalism in Bamenda-Cameroon during the anglophone crisis, 2016-2019


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Abstract

A casual observation of journalistic practices around the world reveals deep-seated abuses on journalists and media organizations. While this is a universal state of affair, the situation in Africa is particularly dire due to poor democratic practices and human rights situations. In Cameroon, abuses on journalists and media organizations prevail and have often been blamed on government actors. However, with the advent of the Anglophone Crisis in 2016, a non-state actor emerged to compliment government actions against the free practice of journalism in Bamenda, Capital of the country’s North West Region. From this background, this paper contends that, since the emergence of armed pro-separatist groups (known as ‘Amba’ Boys) in Cameroon’s Anglophone Regions of the North West and South West within the framework of the Anglophone Crisis, journalists in and around Bamenda suffered serious infringements on their rights from two mutually opposing groups (including government actors on the one hand and armed separatist groups on the other). The paper analyses written sources, interviews, newspaper articles, internet sites as well as field observations to demonstrate that media men and women in Bamenda suffered abuses ranging from threats, arrests, torture, kidnapping, imprisonment and suspension from both government and ‘Amba’ Boys within this period. The paper is synchronized in thematic-cum-chronological synthesis to sustain logic.

Keywords

scylla, charybdis, anglophone crisis, abuses on journalism, Bamenda

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