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Cameroon's illegal media are booming

Cameroon | Media Law

Gideon recounts that he practiced during the period when censorship was rife among divisional officers, governors, and overzealous officials of the president's administration. Reporters were quite conscious of what could be offensive to the system in the course publishing stories. This awareness called for self censorship, because the consequences of offending the system were harsh, including arrests, torture or imprisonment.

Between 1982 to 1990, President Paul Biya undertook personally to ensure that journalists received respect by those who previously saw newsmen as nuisances that must be contained in iron cages. It was common to hear that the president had ordered the release of journalists in police cells.

Those times demanded rare courage to report delicate issues the way they actually occurred. The system was interested in seeing events with negative coloration downplayed for public consumption. What prevailed was "journalism of development". Any issue that would show a bright side of the government was expected to receive elaborate coverage.

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