The appropriate use of social media and other digital tools can help in the push for a democratic change in Cameroon, experts have advised.
The experts made the recommendation on Tuesday April 30 during a one-day symposium organised by the Nkafu Policy Institute, a think-tank of the Denis and Lenora Foretia Foundation, under the theme « Digital technologies, impact on Cameroon’s Democratisation process ».
The panel of experts was unanimous on the contributions of the digital technologies in advancing and improving the democratisation process in Cameroon but said more still needs to be done to feel the impact.
The social media has been a vector of democratic change in several African countries but that is still to be the case in Cameroon and the experts attributed this to a number of factors.
Government repression through internet cuts, negative language from the state with regard to the social media, are some of the factors that help deconstruct the notion the digital technologies can impact the democratisation process in Cameroon, one of the panelists Dr. Francis Simo said.
Democracy must be measured on the participation of all actors including the state and citizens, he said, calling on the government to create an enabling cyberspace that will foster democracy in the country.
On his part, Brice Ondigui, researcher and political scientist said the transposition of the system in place directly to the social media is creating more division and fostering hate speech online, undermining the impact of the social in the democratisation process in Cameroon.
The researcher recommended Cameroonians be schooled on the appropriate use of the social media to cause positive change in their immediate environment.
The symposium was equally an opportunity for the Nkafu Policy Institute to unveil the winner and runner up of a short video competition lanched recently to get citizens to air out their views on the democratic challenges in Cameroon.
Awanto Magaret’s video titled « Political and social apathy : the Cameroonian cankerworm » bagged home the first prize (100.000FCFA) for speaking up against what she describes as the lukewarmness of Cameroonians pertaining to democracy, governance and leadership in this country ».
The runner up, Ecclésiaste Deudjui, in his own video described the extended stay in power by Cameroon’s Head of State as a hinderance to the country’s emergence.