According to the government-controlled daily, Cameroon Tribune, social media is “fast becoming a threat to peace and a secret instrument of manipulation” promoting “character destruction, destabilisation of public opinion and deformation of facts among others.”
It says if not curtailed, with elections fast approaching, it could be used by political adversaries to wreck havoc.
In a report by the publication, titled “Dérives sur les réseaux sociaux : la cote d’alerte” “it gave examples of how social media has been used to spread false news.
On 30 October 2016, an empty bus from the Musango Bus Services Company returned to Buea. At the place called Dikoum, about forty kilometers from Douala, he is hit by a truck. Results: no death, but two wounded, including one in critical condition, in this case the mechanic who was driving and the driver who suffered minor injuries. A statement from the Travel Agency highlights the fact that the bus “did not carry any passengers”.
But on social networks, Facebook in particular, we talk about 35 dead, in a bus that had only two people on board.
In another instance, social media users published gruesome images from a train crash.
On the 21st of October, the users of the social networks lived, in slight delay, with images in support, the black film of the consequences of the derailment of train 152 from Camrail to Eséka.
Shredded, bloody bodies, covered with mud on the railway track or stuck in scrap metal, or even crammed into the morgue of the hospital of Eséka have been shown. Crushed faces and legs of the victims, almost everything could be visualized, without shame.
A human butcher spread out in broad daylight, ignoring sensitive souls. “I fell brutally on these pictures of bodies crushed by the train. Since then, I have difficulty falling asleep and it gives me chills. What makes that, at the moment, by pulling down my page, I pay a little more attention. Everything that comes as publication on this disaster is blocked. It’s sad, “regrets Sandrine Christelle Ebounga, executive in a company in Douala.
“It is incomprehensible and one wonders what one gains by publishing such images”, questions André Marie Belinga, Internet user.
Other government media outlets, particularly the state-controlled Cameroon Radio Television (CRTV), have also joined the campaign to highlight the alleged ills of social media and the need for social media regulation in Cameroon.