The Manager of Foundation Radio Station Ngomgham-Mankon,seasoned Journalist Tikum Mbah Azonga has revealed that the radio which was shut down on April 22 in retaliation for its broadcast of an interview that authorities said incited secessionism, will re-open its airwaves to audience Monday 24.
He was speaking to The Young Informant Saturday re assuring that a decision has been signed by the Divisional Officer to that effect “Lets just wait till Monday,i have procured a document signed,indicating that we can continue boradcast from Monday”,he said.
Tikum remains hopeful
Local officials in the northwestern city of Bamenda indefinitely shut down the studios of private station Foundation Radio. The injunction, which was signed by Felix Nguele Nguele, the top official in Bamenda, and originated from the Cameroonian minister of communications, ordered the station to be shut down because of its repeated broadcasts that “incited secessionism,” according to CPJ’s review of the document.
News accounts reported that the station was shut down in reprisal for its March 25 morning talk show, called “Good Morning Bamenda Show,” in which the host, Tikum Mbah Azonga, interviewed two guests from the outlawed Southern Cameroons National Council (SCNC), which calls for the secession of the English-speaking northwest and southwest provinces from the French-speaking remainder of Cameroon.
Azonga said he went to the police three times for questioning and was asked to submit a copy of the recording of the program. “They were wondering how I, as a journalist they knew to be very responsible, could have allowed the SCNC to speak?” he said. Winifred Weregwe, administrator of the Fomunyoh Foundation, which runs the station, told CPJ that police also indicated they were sending the recording to the Ministry of Communications.
A January 2012 presidential decree granted the state-run National Communications Council broad regulatory authority to suspend news outlets, but since 2003, the government’s Ministry of Communications has also summarily shut down at least 10 independent broadcasters in response to critical coverage, according to CPJ research.
Observers say the actions of the Cameroonian government to silence Foundation Radio over one program illustrates how far the state will go to suppress news and information about the secessionist claims in the northwest part of the country.
Foundation Radio is run by the U.S.-based Fomunyoh Foundation. Its founder, Christopher Fomunyoh, has highlighted over the years the shortcomings of the political system under President Paul Biya as a Senior Associate and Regional Director for Central and West Africa at the National Democratic Institute, according to local journalists.