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Hate Speech, a Violent Conflict Driver in Cameroon. LOYOC Has Asserted
Category :- News Author :- N Gelmin S 
Posted on September 23, 2019, 12:00 am

The available reports on violent conflict in Cameroon, show that many blame the poor governance, poverty, discrimination, and marginalization. This has provoked a lot of hate speech which has been fueling social unrest and conflict amongst individuals and communities.

Following this assertion, the Local Youth Corner (LOYOC) have made a new publication whereby Kweiti Richard, Besong Bawack and Acheleke Christian and team have come up with eight positive practices by young Cameroonians in combating hate speech. They have also recommended solutions targeting different development stakeholders in the country.

They hold that the role of hate speech, which seemingly, has become a community to national problems, has not been satisfactorily examined as a major driver of violent conflict in Cameroon. A phenomenon that grew from the days of colonialism, to independence, to the birth of democracy and today as crisis.

In part two of the publication, they have it that hate speech or what they have termed “inflammatory words or phrases” has taken over peaceful words in arguments and debates amongst Cameroonians. The research has brought out some lingua franker like Bameleke, Anglo-fou, wadjo, sardinard and Franco-frog amongst others, used to describe locals from the diverse cultural backgrounds in Cameroon is what enkindles the feeling of marginalization and dictatorship.

Meanwhile during their research, it was found that hate speech damages individuals or the groups involved. This, they say has gone viral in Cameroon within the period of 5years, such that social media platforms are now a common ground for hate speech and propaganda.

Making reference to the Rwanda genocide, the 2007 post-election violence in Kenya, the Bosnian conflict and the genocide in Germany, the publication holds that hate speech has been a driver of violent conflicts as is the case of Cameroon today.

To this effect, LOYOC seeks to bring together opinions from about 30 influential youths including –bloggers, poets, musicians, comedians, spoken-word artists, journalists, film actors and other civil society activists.

However, they have found out that many Cameroonian youths, though victims of the current crisis, have so far demonstrated a strong reliance in preventing violence and building peace. These youths, they say, have formed social capacity building groups across the country with main target, to end hate speech.

Looking at these efforts, LOYOC Cameroon have designed the Spread Love Campaign, encouraging young persons from all works of life, to become ambassadors of peace in their various domains. In this initiative, 30 trained Spread Love Ambassadors like –Ebigwe Johnson (a standup gospel comedian), Alunge Nnangsope (a professional spoken-word artist,), Ayuk Renette (a storyteller and journalist) and Christian Best Besseck (a comedian) amongst others.

These ambassadors have supported the creation on 30 Spread Love Clubs in secondary and primary schools and have developed; music, arts, slam, radio, television and social media contents with which they are successfully training over 500,000people across the country.

In this publication, LOYOC has made several propositions as a way to put an end to hate speech in Cameroon by the different elements of the society. The proposals are addressed to the government, civil society activists, traditional and religious leaders, forces of law and order, and the media.

Some of these proposals are that –the government should put in place a mechanism to track hate speech, both offline and online, whereby such crimes will be punishable by law. –Create a possibility where victims of this crime can report.

–Non-governmental organizations to put in place cross-cultural exchanges between people of the different regions and to provide training and other etiquettes to end hate speech. –Religious and traditional leaders to spread messages of peace, tolerance, acceptance and mutual respect, issuing and building multi-faith social action campaigns that can prevent and curb incitement to social violence.

_The media should train journalist on conflict sensitive reporting and establish the monitoring and evaluation of news platforms to monitor hate speech trends, bringing crime cases to the key institutions.

The publication in details have brought out many proves of the direct link between conflict and hate speech, exposing its growing prevalence in the Cameroonian society. They are calling for an urgent sustainable solution by every Cameroonian for a peaceful cohabitation.

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