Cameroon’s media regulator, dubbed the National Communication Council, NCC, has once again, banned political debates on air in the build-up to the country’s Senatorial elections on March 25.
Many analysts had thought the upcoming democratic exercise will be a platform to show case a country which really thirst after democracy. Pro democrats in developed countries are of the opinion that it is during such periods that more programmes are created to animate public debates so as to educate the electorate to make the right choices, in the interest of the state and love for the nation.
However, government’s recent ban of debates, talk shows, all live and interactive programmes in which political issues could be raised, has left many wondering what form of democracy the country really wants.
Some political pundits have lambasted the NCC unpopular decision. These group, are of the opinion that banning debates on air is equal to disenfranchising public opinion – an affront to freedom of opinion and to freedom of speech. To them, the ban is an attempt at rigging public opinion and, through it, hijack the election.
Apart from its limits on freedom of expression, the ban, observers hold, moves the country ten times backward compared to her neighbours and takes it far away from achieving any emergence plans.