By Sibafe Falone & Hannah Bissong
The Buea Chapter president of the Cameroon Association of English-speaking Journalists (CAMASEJ), Isidore Abah, has tutored 13 student journalists in Buea on how to practically make ethical journalistic decisions.
This was during a session he had with students who are rounding off a one-month internship at The Post newspaper’s head office in Buea on Friday, July 22.
During the session, Abah said ethics are sometimes interchangeable with morals. “Morality refers to a set of values that determines people’s action,” he said. He differentiated morals from ethics stating: “Ethics is a system of moral principles which affect how people make decisions and live their lives, that is, ethics is concerned with what is good and bad, right and wrong.”
Abah added that journalism ethics move in line with values and values are what differentiate journalists from citizen journalists. He numerated some fundamental guidelines that journalists should follow when reporting.
“Respect for the truth and the public’s right to information is fundamental to journalism,” he said. “Use fair, responsible and honest means to acquire information. Do not allow payments, gifts or any belief to undermine your fairness, accuracy and independence,” he told the student journalists.
The session was interactive as the facilitator and students exchanged ideas on how to confront some practical ethical issues. Faith Kiki, one of the interns, was curious to know how to confront the issue of “ngombo” (money or gifts journalists receive for covering an event). Tapping from his wealth of experience, Abah told the students to not allow “ngombo” undermine their independence, fairness and accuracy as journalists.
He urged all interns to learn from their mistakes, learn from good and bad experiences but to leave behind the bad ones. He advised them to continue improving on their writing, stating that writing is hard work.
According to Hope Nda a reporter of The Post and coordinator of the internship session, Isidore Abah was selected for the talk because of his wide experience in journalism. Apart from being the president CAMASEJ Buea Chapter, Abah has more than 10 years of experience in journalism, and has served as Desk Editor of The Post Newspaper for a number of years.
He is also into investigative journalism. In 2016, he won the Best Print Media Editor award in Cameroon from The Scoop Media Group and in 2018 Abah won the Courage in Journalism Award for the best investigative article for that year.