It is difficult to say if the media actually exist in developing countries like ours, or it is a mere setup to print pamphlets in the name of newspapers to make some money. It is disheartening to have observed the media flow with the anger and contradicting views of the people since the crisis began in North and South west of Cameroon in 2016. Anger took precedence over objectivity, and sentiment overshadowed professionalism. After watching with dismay the brutal and repressive way the state handled the situation from day one, including the beating of the lawyers brandishing placards that bore the messages of their grievances, I summarized the dire situation into the words of William Butler Yeats; "the falcon cannot hear the falconer" for things have fallen apart and "the centre cannot hold"
Politicians, who have contributed 70 per cent to the escalation of the crisis went further to provoke the already embittered population by denying the existence of the legitimate problem, rightly documented in history. Those who denied it from the beginning surely found themselves in one or more of the following situations;
a) they lost track and consciousness of 1990 uprising in Bamenda
b) they deliberately "forgot" it like some forgot in 1994, in Rwanda.
c) they cared more about their portfolio than the people's lives, who voted them
If we were in a society that takes stock of events, and equally worries about its development and well being, such politicians should be put where they belong in the various elections this year, 2018.
On the other hand, a good number of the media failed the people they served to save their hides! Yet they expected this same people to buy their papers, watch them, and listen to their frequencies. Today the loud cry is that the state media has lost credibility, well, it is reflexive of the image the state has before the people! In a society where one part suffers and the other part goes about its activities as if nothing is happening, it is easy to be complacent of state and individual atrocities! This has been the case since the outbreak of the crisis in Cameroon. The grieving population backs the angry youth who go on rampage destroying public and private properties, and the state that becomes brutal by opening fire with live bullets (citing the case of Sunday September 1st, 2017), backed by the majority of the French speaking population, especially those who do not understand what actually is going on in the other side of the beloved country.
AFTER THE SHOW OF BARBARISM, WHAT NEXT?
Violence has never solved any problem, though scholars like Raymond Aron will say war is a continuation of diplomacy in another form. Violence is condemned from both warring parties, especially when the innocent are the ones paying the price. After more than one year of atrocities from both parties, starting with the brutal response the state reacted with in November 2016, voices are beginning to cry for DIALOGUE, and this is another place where the media in Cameroon has FAILED! It is the role of the media to educate the people in times of crisis like the one we have in North and South west of Cameroon. But we have watched journalists from 'well established' media houses, especially in the French speaking zone insult and ignite hatred among the people, and gone unpunished! There has been a lot of impunity, on both sides!
HOW HAS THE MEDIA FAILED IN THE LIGHT OF DIALOGUE?
The media has failed by not educating the public objectively on what constitutes "dialogue" in conflict situation like the one in South and North west. Media platforms host debates on the crisis on daily basis and they invite politicians to come and defend their individual interests and "beg" for post from hierarchy in their "centralized" speeches, when actually the world is talking about "decentralizing"
HOW SHOULD THE MEDIA HELP?
The media should host training workshops on ethics and war reporting and oblige all their personnel to take part in them, like the way some are doing in the North and South west.
Invite experts in the different fields of peace study, peacekeeping, conflict resolutions, etc to come and educate the people on their platforms, debates, and talkshows. The people need to be educated on what it means to call dialogue, the stakes and challenges, the procedures, the circumstances, parties involved, how to choose those parties, etc. If this is done, "dialogue" in the air will have some weight to weight it down on the negotiating table.