Cameroon broadcast journalist, Eyong Blaise, has been crowned African journalist for the month of March by Africa Media Development Foundation, a Nigerian-based body which aims at providing professional support to media, journalists, and development communication initiatives while promoting press freedom.
The international award-winning television journalist, who has over five years of experience, has produced documentaries for international media outlets including BBC, Al Jazeera, Deutsche Welle, Africa 24, BEIN Sports, the Washington Post, and ITV.
He has also written for CNN and the Guardian UK. He currently corresponds for Reuters and in his spare time, shoots and directs TV commercials.
“There are many challenges that come with being a journalist connected to popular television houses, first you must try to be the best for every assignment because your work must meet international standards. Secondly, there are things I want to say but I cannot, because I have to protect an image and being impartial even if I am affected,” said Okie, who hails from Kumba in Cameroon’s South-West region.
“Security is one of the challenges, as a journalist working in developing countries where the government sees journalists as enemies, this becomes very difficult to tell stories freely…what keeps me going is the assurance that I am doing what is right, if the media turns a blind eye to happenings in society and does not bring information to the public, the world will immediately perish. This has happened many times when the media does not report conflicts, corruption, abuse and anything else in the public interest. This is the motivation I have.”
Talking to the African Media Development Foundation, Eyong said “every story is unique and whenever I report on a story, I am proud that I was able to tell the story and bring it to the audience wherever they are. Therefore, I see every piece I make as the favorite. I also cannot say that a particular story was challenging or easy to make.”
“The reason is; every single story including just an interview is always a challenge to me, I consider every assignment as an opportunity to challenge myself to do something new and interesting, I always pressure myself to bring out the best for every story, as a result, I consider every report challenging.”
The award-winning journalists who continue to inspire many in Cameroon and beyond says his love for storytelling is what inspired him to drive into the profession despite all the insecurity attributed to reporting in a frail democratic country where press freedom is near absent.
Since the announcement of his recognition, the social media has been flooded with hundreds of congratulatory messages to the young talent with most of his colleagues remarking that his award is well-merited.
To upcoming journalists, Eyong cautions them to “understand that work comes before money” and that they must be aware that they “cannot decide to be just a text, video or photojournalist. Media executives are now looking for a multimedia journalist with multiple skills.”