Journalists and the Cameroonian army have pledged for a better collaboration in other to facilitate access to information especially in areas hit by conflicts.
They took the commitment recently during two workshops organized by some UN agencies in Cameroon aimed at mainstreaming the protection of journalists in the context of a crisis.
The first part of the workshop organized by the United Nations Centre for Human Rights and Democracy, UNICEF, UNDP, UNESCO and UNOCA brought together over two dozens of journalists from the North West, South West, Littoral and Centre Regions, to share their experiences.
Common among the experiences shared by the journalists was the security situation which makes it difficult for journalists to easily access information while some of them are even threatened and targeted.
Also sharing his experience was journalist Jean Areguenma from the Far North Region who made a run down through the Boko Haram crisis in the Far North and how his newsroom went about coverage while ensuring theirs journalists remained protected and safe.
To this, the spokesperson of the Ministry of Defence who was a special guest, Commander Cyrille Serge Atonfack Guemo made it clear that the army is always ready to collaborate with the media in terms of information sharing. He stressed that the communication division of the army is always open for information sharing with journalists and said all they need to do is to establish a link and cordial working relationship.
As concerns the security of journalists on the field, he said the army has always given protection to media men whenever they are on the field. He however urged them to always take precautions for their own safety when going to volatile areas. He said journalists must be able to professionally identify themselves to avoid any confusion on the field.
To adopt a series of best practices to mainstream protection in a crisis situation, the journalists brainstormed all through the week and came up with a practical guide which they will take back to their newsrooms.
The second part of the workshop is currently going on in Douala and brings together law enforcement officers and defence and security forces as they chart out ways for better collaboration with the media.