Combating Hate Speech, Xenophobia: CAMASEJ Bamenda Empowers Journalists

Participants and facilitators pose for a family picture 

In a move to address the growing concerns of hate speech and xenophobia within the context of the ongoing Anglophone crisis, the Cameroon Association of English-Speaking Journalists (CAMASEJ) has organized a one-day workshop for journalists in the Northwest region.

The workshop, which took place on June 20th, 2024, aimed at equipping journalists with the necessary tools and knowledge to identify and combat these societal ills that have the potential to exacerbate the already fragile situation in the region.

Nduku Louis, facilitator on dangers of Hate speech 

Nduku Louis Tebi, one of the  workshop's facilitator, provided in-depth definitions and insights into the concepts of hate speech and xenophobia. He emphasized the crucial role journalists play in shaping public perception and disseminating information in a responsible manner.

"As journalists, we have a profound responsibility to ensure that our reporting does not contribute to the propagation of hate speech and xenophobia," Tebi stated. "The lessons learned from the Rwandan genocide, where a radio played a significant role in sparking the crisis, served as a poignant reminder of the power of the media and the need for ethical, fact-based journalism."

Tebi also highlighted the prevalence of xenophobia in the Cameroonian context, where individuals often make sweeping generalizations about entire communities based on limited personal experiences. "Prejudice is a common issue we face, where people jump to conclusions without verifying the facts," he explained. "For example, labeling all women from a particular village as prostitutes without proper investigation is a prime example of xenophobia and it is  unacceptable."

Bakah Derick, facilitator 

The workshop delved into practical steps journalists can take to cover events in strategic and crisis-stricken locations within the Northwest region, emphasizing the importance of responsible reporting and the avoidance of sensationalism.

Muma Jude, Chapter President, highlighting the importance of the subjects handled

Muma Jude, the President of the Bamenda Chapter of CAMASEJ, expressed the organization's commitment to this initiative. "Last year, we signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the National Commission for the Promotion of Bilingualism and Multiculturalism, and we are proud to have renewed this collaboration," he said. "CAMASEJ has the mandate to preach against hate speech and xenophobia, especially in the current context of the Anglophone crisis, where we often witness concerning statements from individuals who may not even realize the implications of their words."

Jude acknowledged the challenge of addressing the issue, as some individuals may inadvertently engage in hate speech or xenophobic behavior without fully comprehending the gravity of their actions. "In the crisis context, we see a lot of altercations, and sometimes people may not even realize that what they are saying is hateful or xenophobic," he explained.

Cross section of participants 

The workshop's comprehensive approach to combating hate speech and xenophobia underscores CAMASEJ's commitment to fostering a more inclusive and harmonious media landscape in the Northwest region of Cameroon. By empowering journalists with the necessary knowledge and tools, the organization aims to contribute to the broader efforts to address the societal divisions exacerbated by the ongoing Anglophone crisis.

As the region continues to navigate the complexities of the crisis, the CAMASEJ workshop serves as a timely and crucial intervention, highlighting the pivotal role of the media in shaping narratives, promoting understanding, and working towards a more peaceful and cohesive future for all Cameroonians.


Munya Charles Babila 

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