On April 12, The U.S. Embassy in Yaounde welcomed 20 Cameroonian journalists and journalism students for a screening of the 2008 film “The Paper,” directed by Aaron Mathews and provided by the Department of State’s Africa Regional Services (ARS) office in Paris. “From plummeting circulation to ‘infotainment,’ THE PAPER goes inside the newsroom to reveal the pressures and problems of today’s media. But this is not some big-city major daily. It’s The Daily Collegian, published by students at Penn State University who, in the course of one crisis-filled year, struggle to save their paper. Interweaving the drama of deadline journalism with the energy and idealism of youth, THE PAPER tackles urgent media questions from the fresh perspective of tomorrow’s journalists,” according to the director’s website: http://www.aaronmatthews.com/films/the-paper/.
Welcoming the group, Public Affairs Officer Roberto Quiroz II underscored the importance of a free and independent media to promote development, good governance, and transparency in all nations, including in the United States. “Freedom of the press is enshrined in the U.S. Constitution as a guaranteed right for all Americans. The professional development of journalists, their access to stories, and the public’s right to know through media reporting is essential to strengthen our democracies. Recently in the United States, the media which has raised issues for the public to debate and discuss to find resolution to matters of local, national, or international concern. From civil rights to good governance, observance of human rights, corporate responsibility, or public accountability on how taxpayer funds are invested, the U.S. media is seen as our nation’s Fourth Estate, essential to the fabric that strengthens our Union through the noble profession chosen by journalists.” He also noted that, as President Obama has said, many journalists around the world still face great challenges for doing their job, and advised participants that the public expects fair, balanced, and facts based reporting based on reliable sources and integrity of information.
Senior Information Specialist Thomas Bouba also addressed the guests and discussed the film’s lessons with them. Participants noted that they liked the films’ presentation on the unique challenges faced by journalists as well as the pressures in the media landscape based on reporting the facts accurately and demands for deadlines. One participant said “this movie is really inspiring for young journalist like me. It tackles current issues faced by us in the Cameroonian media like rigor, ethics, and sustainability. It gave me some new perspectives for my job.” Others highlighted the shared dedication and challenges by journalists across nations, and the special responsibility placed on journalists by society as well as their challenges.
Please see the Africa Regional Services Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/usdos.arsparis/?fref=ts. See Facebook album of program: https://www.facebook.com/yaounde.usembassy/photos/?tab=album&album_id=10156785241510716.