Amadou Vamoulké, General Manager, Cameroon Radio Television.
What informed the organisation of the just-ended CRTV National Forum on Programmes?
Defining a programme policy for television is not easy; especially in the current media environment that is characterised by a multiplicity of offers from both national and international channels. This new dispensation is also characterised by the shift from analogue to digital broadcasting that entails an unlimited range ofprogrammes. As a public broadcaster, we felt that we needed the input of the public in selecting and preparing our programmes. We wanted different viewers and listeners to assess what we do and tell us their expectations.
The suggestions we received from the public from October 20-22, 2015 will enable us to move forward in planning programmes for the six specialised television channels; up from the one that exists now. We hope that at the end of the day, CRTV will become more attractive. More importantly, the attention of Cameroonians needs to be focused on national issues instead of what is happening abroad. This means CRTV programmes need to become more interesting in order to keep viewers off what tends to distract their attention.
What were some of the highlights of the forum?
The most important was the recommendation to widen the scope of our programmes. This was not possible before with only one general TV channel. The Chairman of the CRTV National Forum on Programmes spoke of the need to promote the Cameroonian way of life; which we have not been showing until now. On the other hand, things have to be done in a more professional manner and the necessary means provided for CRTV to live up to expectations. This is a call to government to provide the minimum means necessary for CRTV’s proper take-off.
A lot of important things were said, but all of them can be summarised in the recommendation that the attention of Cameroonians needs to be captured and retained on burning national issues. Another thing that came out from the forum was that CRTV is much loved by the public. As a result, they would like to see it become a media house to reckon with in Cameroon and abroad.
Now that the recommendations are already there, when can we expect some of the new channels to go operational?
We are not being pretentious, though we do not also want to neither rush things nor procrastinate. Among the six channels, the news channel is almost ready. We dispatched a team to France and other countries to find out how news channels are managed, the challenges faced and how they were overcome. All of this will be taken into consideration, given that we have already started gathering news content. The news channel is easier to run because it depends on day-to-day happenings. We are waiting to see the preparation of next year’s budget. The first new channel may go operational in the first quarter of 2016; and others will follow suit.
The media environment is moving very fast with globalisation, digital broadcasting and post-modernism. As a public broadcaster, we need to regularly ask ourselves if we have been playing our role properly by finding out what the audience wants and to adjust accordingly. We also need to continuously go for the truth in order to remain relevant in the eyes of the public.
Par Kimeng Hilton, Cameroon Tribune